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FHA Fee Guidelines Loosened

Mortgagee Letter 2006-04 issued

February 3, 2006

By MortgageDaily.com staff

The Department of Housing and Urban Development wants to align closing costs on FHA-insured loans with the conventional mortgage market.

FHA lenders can charge customary and reasonable fees, according to Mortgagee Letter 2006-04 released last week. These costs, except for discount points, count towards the borrower's required minimum cash to close.

Borrowers cannot pay for tax service fees or origination fees in excess of 1%, except for the supplemental origination fee on Section 203(k) rehabilitation mortgages and 2 percent origination fee on Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, the letter said.

Sellers can reportedly pay up to 6% in closing costs, discount points and prepaid expenses, with contributions in excess of these limits reducing the available loan amount dollar-for-dollar. "This change also eliminates geographic disparities for those lenders operating within the jurisdiction of more than one Homeownership Center," HUD said.

"FHA-approved mortgagees advised us that sellers sometimes balked at accepting a sales contract from a homebuyer wishing to use FHA-insured financing because it's guidelines differ from standard practice and do not consider regional variations," the letter said. "FHA believes that by no longer prescribing borrower's paid closing costs, a significant impediment to the use of its programs has been eliminated."

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