Housing Assistance: An Inventory of Fiscal Year 2010 Programs, Tax Expenditures, and Other Activities

U.S. Government Accountability Office

One-to-Four-Family Home Mortgage Insurance (Section 203(b))

Administering Agency/Entity Department of Housing and Urban Development
Short Description Provides mortgage insurance to protect lenders against the risk of default on mortgages to qualified buyers. Insured mortgages may be used to finance the purchase of new or existing one-to-four-family housing, as well as to refinance debt. Down-payment requirements can be as little as 3.5 percent and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) rules impose limits on some of the fees that lenders may charge in making a mortgage. FHA has the authority to establish and collect a single up-front premium and annual premiums. There are limits on the size of the loans that may be insured by FHA, which can vary by county. In calendar year 2010, the limits ranged from $271,050 to $729,750 for one-unit properties in the continental United States. Mortgage insurance is available through FHA-approved lenders and only to those intending to use the mortgaged property as their primary residence.
Primary Purpose Assistance for buying, selling, or financing a home
Type of Housing Supported Homeownership
Type of Assistance Insured loan
Fiscal Year 2010 Obligations -$2,546,000,000; represents the expected credit subsidy costs for loan commitments made in fiscal year 2010. These estimates are revised in subsequent years and the ultimate cost will not be known until the loans have matured, which in some cases may be 30 years. The expected credit subsidy costs reported are for guarantees of single family loans insured under the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Section 203(b) is the single largest loan program in this Fund.

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