Recently we posted the first of two parts about the changes in qualifications for FHA loans for condominiums. In this part we provide information on the rest of the changes.

 

REDUCTION IN OWNER OCCUPANCY REQUIREMENTS FOR ELIGIBLE PROJECTS

 

FHA’s primary motive for requiring that at least fifty percent (50%) of the units in a project be owner occupied or secondary residences is because it is statistically more likely that condominiums with a high percentage of rentals will have higher foreclosure and assessment delinquency rates than condominiums that are primarily owner occupied. It appears that FHA has settled on a compromise in order to avoid penalizing projects with higher rentals but lower delinquency rates.  FHA currently requires that no more than fifteen percent (15%) of the units can be sixty (60) days or more in arrears in the payment of assessments.  Effective October 15, if only ten percent (10%) or fewer owners are sixty (60) days or more in arrears, FHA will accept owner occupancy rates of only thirty five percent (35%).  This could be a significant boost for Hampton Roads.  We have seen many projects with strong financials rejected for FHA certification simply because of owner occupancy requirements.  Because of the high concentration of the military in our area, many condominium projects can have a higher percentage of rentals but still maintain low delinquency rates.

FHA has also expanded on what qualifies as an owner occupied or secondary residence which we believe will also help increase the rate of owner occupancy in some projects and take the guess work out of defining which units qualify as owner occupied and which do not.  These expanded definitions include {emphasis added}:

  • “any Unit that is occupied by the owner as his or her place of abode for any portion of the calendar year and that is not rented for a majority of the calendar year;
  • any Unit listed for sale, and not listed for rent, that was previously occupied by the owner as his or her place of abode for any portion of the calendar year and that is not rented for a majority of the calendar year; or
  • any Unit sold to an owner who intends to occupy the Unit as his or her place of abode for any portion of the calendar year and has no intent to rent the Unit for a majority of the calendar year.”

 
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According to a news release from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) several days ago, there are over 150,000 condominium projects in the United States, but “only 6.5 percent are approved to participate in FHA’s mortgage insurance programs.” In an effort to make Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans accessible to more prospective purchasers of condominium units and because HUD estimates that 84% of FHA-insured condominium unit buyers are first time homeowners, HUD has announced some pretty significant changes to FHA regulations.  These major changes will become effective on October 15, 2019 and include:
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A couple of months ago we informed you of major changes coming to resale disclosure requirements and the fees that can be charged for preparing those disclosures.  Those changes went into effect on July 1, 2018 and we wanted to remind you that you must now be complying with those changes.

Every homeowners association disclosure for both initial sales by the developer and resales is required to include a form developed by the Common Interest Community (CIC) Board titled “Property Owners’ Association Disclosure Packet Notice.”  This form has always been required for homeowners associations initial sales and resales but the form has been revised to include multiple additional disclosures enacted by the Virginia General Assembly.
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