The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) historically has been an important participant in the mortgage market, which includes loans that carry government insurance or guarantees (such as FHA-insured mortgages) and those that do not (conventional mortgages). The conventional market comprises prime loans for the most creditworthy borrowers and subprime loans for borrowers with impaired credit. Reduced demand for FHA-insured mortgages--which are used primarily by borrowers who would have difficulty obtaining conventional prime loans--has raised questions about the agency's role in and ability to adapt to the mortgage market. This report discusses (1) trends in FHA's share of the market for home purchase mortgages from 1996 through 2005, and how they compared with the trends for other market segments; and (2) factors associated with the trends in FHA's market share and the implications of these trends for homebuyers and FHA. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed FHA and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data and interviewed officials from FHA and other mortgage institutions.
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