An estimated 40 percent of the FHA’s business consists of loans with either one or two subprime attributes—a FICO score below 660 or a debt ratio greater than or equal to 50 percent (based on loans insured during FY 2012). The FHA’s underwriting policies encourage low- and moderate-income families with low credit scores or high debt burdens to make risky financing decisions—combining a low credit score and/or a high debt ratio with a 30-year loan term and a low down payment. A substantial portion of these loans have an expected failure rate exceeding 10 percent.Across the country, 9,000 zip codes with a median family income below the metro area median have projected foreclosure rates equal to or greater than 10 percent.These zips have an average projected foreclosure rate of 15 percent and account for 44 percent of all FHA loans in the low- and moderate-income zips.
The resulting reduced or declining home values impact FHA and non-FHA low- and moderate-income families diligently making their payments. These families may be denied the opportunity to build equity, provide security for their family, and have the down payment for their next home as their family grows. Foreclosures also result in increased blight and crime and the larger community suffers from a reduced tax base and higher costs for providing municipal services.
In 2009, as home values plunged, Congress boosted the maximum home value that seniors could borrow against, fueling more demand for reverse mortgages. Private offerings of reverse mortgages disappeared as the housing bust deepened.