Saturday, November 8, 2003

What's the buzz?

U.S. home loans get higher limits

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has bumped up the maximum amount a homebuyer can borrow under the federal government's FHA loan program.

Now homebuyers can borrow up to $179,091 under FHA (Federal Housing Administration), an 11.5 percent increase over the previous limit of $160,550.

Although the new limit was based on a study of home sales in Warren County, it applies to any home bought in the 13-county Greater Cincinnati region.

Bruce Silber, president of the Cincinnati Mortgage Bankers Association, said the higher limit should help improve the city's homeownership rate. It will also give some a chance to buy larger, more expensive suburban homes, he said.

"A lot of people think FHA is just for minorities or low-income housing," Silber said. "That's not true at all."

The FHA program helps eliminate traditional barriers to homeownership - poor credit history and lack of down payment, according to the program's regional director, Joseph Galvan.

Ken Alltucker

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What's the buzz?