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For the week of January 9 - 15, 2002

  News

HUD raises mortgage limits for countyís home-buyers


By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has raised the limit on home loans it provides through the Federal Housing Administration. The increase could make it easier for working families to become homeowners.

In Blaine County, the FHA will now insure mortgages for single-family homes up to $255,550. The limit last year was $239,250, and the limit in 2000 was $160,950.

The loan limits for two-to-four-unit dwellings also increased.

"Itís good news, because it means that HUD is recognizing our special situation here in the valley with housing," said Gates Kellett, Ketchum-Blaine County housing director. "The question is how is HUD getting that information up here?"

In the past, FHA-insured loans have been used to finance affordable housing with price restrictions in Ketchum, such as the River Glenn condominiums, which offered two-bedroom units for $120,000, Kellett said. With the recent increases, she expects more home-buyers will be able to use HUD loans for market-priced housing.

FHA-insured loans help low-to-middle income and first-time home-buyers because the agency requires only a 3 percent down payment, and allows family and friends to contribute to the initial expenses of buying a home. Also, the agency has relaxed standards and allows borrowers to carry more debt than private mortgage insurers usually allow.

Kellett said one drawback to HUD loans is they have income limits, which means borrowers might need a large down payment to qualify for a $255,550 loan.

The changes went into effect Jan. 1 and are part of a nationwide increase. FHA is now insuring single-family mortgages up to $144,336 in low-cost areas and up to $261,609 in high-cost areas, an increase of nine percent over last yearís limits.

 


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.