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Home Ownership Gets Tougher on Restricted FHA Mortgages

How ironic and sad that the policies and programs designed to increase homeownership amongst lower-income Americans have caused their homeownership percentages to fall to nearly all-time lows.

Home ownership may be falling out of reach for more Americans as lenders toughen their standards for Federal Housing Administration-insured loans beyond what the agency itself requires.

Mortgage lenders including Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp., the two largest, have raised the minimum credit score on FHA-insured loans that they will buy to 640 from 620. About 6.3 million people fall within that range, according to FICO, which created the formula for the ratings.

The higher hurdles for FHA loans, used in about a fifth of U.S. home purchases, add to challenges for a housing market already struggling with record-low sales and surging foreclosures. While lax lending fueled the bust that led the U.S. into recession, the new requirements will stifle the real estate recovery needed to revive the economy, said Ron Phipps, president of the National Association of Realtors.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-17/home-ownership-gets...



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