New FHA ARMs to Provide Homeownership for 40,000

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The Department yesterday published in the Federal Register the details of a final rule that will enhance homebuying opportunities by expanding its offerings of adjustable-rate mortgage products on FHA-insured mortgages.

The program was proposed by President Bush as a way to increase opportunities for homeownership, particularly for minority families.

Potential homebuyers will be able to choose mortgages with periods of three, five, seven or ten years, depending on their needs, during which time the interest rate would be fixed.

Under the rule, which takes effect 30 days from yesterday, the interest rate for 3-year and 5-year ARMs cannot change by more than one percent per year after the fixed-payment period is over, with a maximum change of five percent for the life of the loan. For 7-year and 10-year ARMs, the maximums are two percent annually and six percent for the life of the loan.

Currently, the only available FHA-insured ARM has a one-year fixed payment period, with caps of one percent a year and five percent for the remainder of the loan. That loan will still be available.

Some 40,000 families are expected to take advantage of the hybrid ARMs program annually.

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