In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, both the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) and the Rural Housing Service (“RHS”) have issued guidance intended to help homeowners with government insured or guaranteed loans who were affected by the storm. With regard to loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”), the guidance is a combination of reminders about existing relief or insurance programs available to assist disaster victims and new policies designed to aid borrowers in the process of obtaining FHA financing for properties impacted by natural disasters. With regard to RHS-guaranteed loans, the guidance focuses on foreclosure and loss mitigation relief available to borrowers impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Read More
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service (RHS) today published a final rule implementing the new annual fee that will be charged on all RHS-guaranteed single family housing loans obligated on or after October 1, 2011.
The Housing Act of 1949 was amended in July 2010 to authorize RHS to charge an annual fee. The purpose of the annual fee is to make the RHS loan guarantee program “subsidy neutral,” meaning that it will not require taxpayer funding to continue operating at its current size. While RHS acknowledges that the annual fee will increase the cost of RHS-guaranteed loans for borrowers (by approximately $20 per month for the average loan), RHS believes that the annual fee is necessary to avoid a reduction in the size of the program, which would result in fewer RHS-guaranteed loans being made. Read More
On the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union address, the U.S. Department of Agriculture this month announced a two-year pilot program to help borrowers with USDA-guaranteed loans refinance their mortgages at lower rates without obtaining a new credit report, appraisal, or property inspection. The program will be offered only in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee, states selected because they are among those hardest hit by the downturn in the housing market. The Department estimates that 235,000 homeowners will be eligible to refinance their loans through this program. Read More