New Law Relaxes Rules around FHA Financing for Condos

Recently, some notable events took place affecting the national condo market.

In a rare bi-partisan move, Congress voted to ease FHA financing restrictions for condo buyers.

That’s huge news for anyone looking to buy, sell, or rent a condo.

Here’s what you need to know…

Strenuous Guidelines Had Taken Their Toll

In order for a borrower to obtain an FHA loan and purchase a condo, the condo building must be approved by the FHA.

Old guidelines for retrieving certification were very strict – so strict that over time, the number of approved condos had dwindled to only 14,000 of the 152,000 condo associations in the US.

Every two years condo associations had to jump through hoops in the complicated process of FHA re-certification.

At this point, many have chosen to avoid the process altogether.

The revised law hopes to reverse this trend.


More Renters Will Be Permitted

New legislation will permit buildings to have a 35% owner-occupancy ratio, down from the previous 50% benchmark.

This means 35% of the building’s owners will have to occupy the condo as their primary residence.

It’s a key component of the bill since the housing bubble resulted in a large number of condo owners being underwater.

Instead of taking a loss or going through the short sale process, many chose to rent out their units.

The result was higher than normal owner-investor ratios.

Commercial Renting Could Get a Boost

Condo buildings can sell units to not only residential owners, but also businesses.

However, the FHA considered much of this commercial component excessive and deemed many buildings ineligible because of it.

Going forward, decisions will be judged on a case-by-case basis and allow for more commercial use.

Certification Process will be Streamlined

As part of the new regulations, congress has also prompted the FHA to streamline its certification process.

It should help urge condo associations to apply for certifications, as again, many had just decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

Transfer Fees Will Be Ok’ed

Small transfer fees (from the condo building) charged at the time of were once disallowed in the event of an FHA transaction.

These fees will now be permitted.

The End Result

As you can see, the passing of a bill most will not even notice could have a long-lasting effect on those living at or currently in search of a condominium.


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