Without any prior warning or industry comment, HUD formally announced an increase of upfront insurance premiums for all borrowers, regardless of initial distributions, to 2% upfront, and .5% for ongoing mortgage insurance premiums. The agency stated the need to ensure the continued economic sustainablity of the HECM program and its fiduciary responsiblity to taxpayers. [See Mortgagee Letter 2017-12] [ Wall Street Journal Article View on Facebook to see full article]
HUD has lowered the interest rate ‘floor’ from 5.06% to 3.00% in it’s PLF tables, essentially pushing lenders to compete on interest rates and margins. We expect to see more lenders switch from the monthly to the annual adjustable LIBOR index in response. In addition the new PLF tables accomodate a rising interest rate enviornment with lending ratios provided as high as up to 18.875%, wheras the previous tables zeroed out lending ratios at 10%. [New 2017 PLF Tables] [Old 2014-2017 PLF Tables]
In our analysis, the reduction in ongoing FHA premiums will significantly reduce the ongoing growth of the HECM’s Principal Limit (available funds), or what many refer to as the line of credit. This development will substantially change several strategies touted in recent years, such as the Standby Reverse Mortgage, and those seeking to use increasing available funds as a hedge against unexpected financial shocks in retirement.
Principal Limit Factor will be reduced from 64% to 58% on average and an approximate 20% reduction available funds for most borrowers:
HUD is soliciting feedback from interested parties until September 29, 2017. Feeback can be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Official Mortgagee Letter 2017-12 “Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Program: Mortgage Insurance Premium Rates and Principal Limit Factors”
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