Home/Mortgages/FHA Gives Flippers Reprieve for Another Year

January 3, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that it has approved another one-year waiver of its anti-flipping rule on foreclosed properties bought with FHA loans.

The suspension was first initiated on February 1, 2010, to allow investors to quickly renovate foreclosed homes and sell them to first time buyers as a means to further sales of foreclosed properties.

In 2003, HUD issued a rule that prohibits the FHA from insuring a mortgage on a home that was owned by the seller for less than 90 days. HUD initiated the anti-flipping rule early last decade because the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) discovered that too many of these quick sales were made at grossly inflated prices and involved fraudulent activities.

“HUD believes that short re-sales executed within 90 days imply pre-arranged transactions that often prove to be among the most egregious examples of predatory lending practices,” the final rule said.

In suspending the anti-flipping rule in February of 2010, HUD required that all sales must be “arms length” transactions, meaning there cannot be a shared interest between the buyer and the seller. And the lender has to meet specific conditions if the price of the property is 20% or more above the seller’s acquisition cost.

“FHA borrowers, because of the restrictions, have often been shut out from buying affordable properties,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said just before the new rule was implemented.

As foreclosure inventory started piling up in 2009, investors claimed the 90-day restriction prevented them from quickly renovating foreclosed homes and selling them to first-time homebuyers. Donovan agreed and initiated the suspension.

Acting Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Carol J. Galante stated, “This extension is intended to accelerate the resale of foreclosed properties in neighborhoods struggling to overcome the possible effects of abandonment and blight. FHA remains a critical source of mortgage financing and stability and we must make every effort to promote recovery in every responsible way we can.”

The extension is effective through December 31, 2012, unless otherwise extended or withdrawn by FHA. All other terms of the existing Waiver will remain the same. The Waiver continues to be limited to sales meeting the following conditions:

– All transactions must be arms-length, with no identity of interest between the buyer and seller or other parties participating in the sales transaction.
– In cases in which the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller’s acquisition cost, the waiver will only apply if the lender meets specific conditions.
– The waiver is limited to forward mortgages, and does not apply to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for purchase program.

Tags: HUD, FHA, FHA loans, foreclosed properties, mortgage, fraud, anti-flipping rule, predatory lending practices, borrowers