FHA mortgage fees set to rise

Bills shaped like house

You’ll pay more to use the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage programs to buy a home starting this spring.

Beginning April 1, the FHA will increase its annual insurance premium by 0.10% for loans of $625,000 or less. Starting June 1, the annual insurance premium for loans above $625,500 will rise by 0.35%.

FHA also charges borrowers an up-front insurance premium, a one-time payment that home buyers either pay at closing or add to their loan. This is the big disadvantage to FHA financing.

That fee will rise from the current 1% to 1.75% starting April 1.

The fee hikes will add about $24 a month to the cost of a $200,000 loan, if you finance the one-time, up-front mortgage insurance premium into a 30-year loan, said Matt Perillie, a senior loan officer at Campbell Mortgage in West Haven, Conn.

That’s not enough to deter people from using the FHA program, he said.

"A small percentage of buyers will end up taking a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan because the monthly payment is going to be lower," he said.

Homeowners who refinance an existing FHA loan won’t pay the higher fees -- designed to boost the agency's reserve funds, which have taken a hit during the foreclosure crisis -- nor will borrowers taking out HUD reverse loans called Home Equity Conversion Mortgages.

But many buyers will stick with FHA, including:

Before you decide, check out our advice on who should turn to an FHA loan.

FHA loans are designed to help home buyers who have more debt, lower credit scores and less cash for a down payment than traditional home loans require.

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