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By G. Steven Bray
Last fall, FHA changed its loan guidelines to require lenders to include a homebuyer’s deferred student loans in the buyer’s debt calculation. The change made FHA consistent with other loan programs. If a creditor didn’t report a payment for a student loan, FHA instructed lenders to use 2% of the loan’s balance. Unfortunately, this was twice the percentage other loan programs required and made it more difficult for many first-time homebuyers to qualify.
Well, apparently FHA heard our complaints. For FHA loans registered on or after 6/30, FHA has changed the guideline to 1%, consistent with other programs. (I can’t explain why they didn’t make the change effective immediately.)
So, how does this change affect one’s ability to qualify? Consider a homebuyer who earns $4000/m. She has a $500/m car payment and $20k in student debt. She wants to buy a $200k home, which requires an estimated FHA mortgage payment of $1432.
Under the existing 2% guideline, the ratio of her debt to income would be 58%, and she would not qualify. However, under the new guideline, the ratio drops to 53%, and she could qualify.