New home buyers flock to FHA loans

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With government intervention already driving the housing market in the form of tax credits and artificially low mortgage rates, there's also been a dramatic increase in the number of home buyers who are seeking out low-down payment through the federally guaranteed FHA loan program.

A new survey conducted by John Burns Real Estate Consulting found that that 59% of this year's new construction sales have been dependent on FHA, VA or USDA financing programs with 96.5% to 100% loan-to-value ratios.

That means that, contrary to the popular myths about the need for huge down payments in this tight lending market, most new home buyers are using programs that require minimal down payments and relatively low credit scores.

In the broader housing market, including resale, the FHA is also picking up market share.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "The share of purchase applications for government-backed loans by the Federal Housing Administration and other agencies surpassed 40% in August, up from 38% in July and 32% in August 2008. That's the highest share that the MBA has measured since February 1991."

The downside? FHA Loans are only available to first-time home buyers. But if you're a prospective first-time home buyer worried that you won't be able to get a mortgage, it's definitely worth doing some research in to the FHA programs.
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