SAN FRANCISCO — Aspiring homeowners who borrow from the federal government could save $1,650 in upfront mortgage fees under an initiative announced Monday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The initiative will apply to some 1.3 million Federal Housing Administration loans each year, Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo told a convention of mortgage bankers.
The FHA lends at market rates to borrowers whom private lenders deem too risky. FHA loans are targeted toward low-income and first-time homebuyers. Beginning in 2001, the FHA will make loans as high as $235,000.
Families stand to benefit – as do community service organizations like the Genesis Project, which provides low-rent apartments to recovering drug addicts.
With seven FHA mortgages, Oakland-based Genesis stands to save thousands a month.
“For us, it means we can provide more services,” said Patrick Stoute, the nonprofit’s executive director. “Because we put everything back into programs for the benefit of clients, it means that we can hold rents at the lower end of the spectrum. So the client benefits.”
Until now, the FHA charged a 2.25-percent fee to execute the mortgage – for example, tacking $2,250 onto a $100,000 loan.
Cuomo announced that premium would fall to 1.5 percent of the original loan. Taking a typical $100,000 FHA mortgage, the fee would fall to $1,500. The borrower thus would save $750 in the short term.
Cuomo said his plan would not cost taxpayers anything – rather, it would cut into FHA loan profits by some $1 billion per year.
“We can reduce the premium because we are financially very strong,”