House Passes FHA Reform Bill Authorizing Higher Premiums

In a near unanimous vote of 406 to 4 Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill intended to replenish the coffers of the federal agency that insures mortgages against default, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

The FHA Reform Act (H.R. 5072) enables the agency to reform its current mortgage insurance premium structure by shifting some of the upfront cost to the annual premium – a move that HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan says will increase FHA’s capital reserves and reduce risks to the FHA insurance fund.

The legislation grants FHA the authority to nearly triple borrowers’ annual premium cap, from the current rate of 0.55 percent, to as high as 1.50 percent. The federal mortgage insurer says this will generate an estimated $300 million a month in additional receipts, while costing the average FHA borrower $42 more in monthly premiums.

The bill also…

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