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New FHA Guidelines For Chester County Real Estate

by Scott Darling

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a government agency whose main objective is to help people who do not qualify for conventional lending programs obtain home loans. The FHA is not in itself a lender; rather it insures a loan, thus making banks/lenders more willing to grant a home loan on real estate to those in underserved groups.

chester county real estateBecause of the economic downfall and the increased number of foreclosures, the FHA, in an effort to strengthen its capital reserves, as made significant changes to its policies, effective this summer. Basically, the changes involve insurance premiums, FICO scores (credit rating), seller concessions, and increased enforcement of lenders.

Mortgage insurance premiums: The previous upfront premium payment of 1.75% of the loan amount has been raised to 2.25%. The option of financing this amount into the loan is still available. In addition, the FHA has requested the authority to increase the annual MIP from its current .55% in an effort to reduce the upfront MIP costs.

FICO scores: The new minimum score for those with a 3.5% down payment has increased to 620 (up from 500).

Seller concessions: In previous years the seller could pay up to 6% of the buyer’s closing costs and fees. It is proposed that amount be lowered to 3%.

Lender enforcement: The FHA will make public (on the HUD website) lender performance; increase its monitoring of lender performance and adherence to the new guidelines; and pursue further legislation to increase its enforcement capabilities.

Additionally, in November 2009 new rules affecting the insuring of the condominium segment of Chester County real estate became effective. FHA insurance availably will be subject to location restrictions based on noise concerns, safety, flood possibility, and wetland disturbance.

                Condo-based changes include:

                1. Increase the loan limits.

                2. Eliminate the practice of separating condo loans from single-family home loans.

                3. Set the owner-occupation requirement at 50%.

                4. Reduce the unit presale requirement from 50% to 30%

                5. Limit the number of FHA loans in any on building to 30%

                6. Cap the number of units in any one building which can be owned by one investor at 10%.

                7. Replace the “spot check” approval process with a more streamlined one when a condo project has not been previously approved

                This is a list of approved condos

Chester County PA Real Estate Sales Statistics - May 2010

by Scott Darling

Pending home sales have risen for three consecutive months, reflecting the broad impact of the home buyer tax credit and favorable housing affordability conditions, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index rose 6.0 percent to 110.9 based on sales contracts signed in April. This figure is up from 104.6 in March, and is 22.4 percent higher than April 2009 when it was 90.6 and reflects increases of 7.1 percent in March and 8.3 percent in February.

Pending home sales are at the highest level since last October when the index reached 112.4 and first-time buyers were rushing to beat the initial deadline for the tax credit. The data reflects sales contracts and not closings, which usually occur with a lag time of one or two months.

Let's look at May real estate sales to see how the local Chester County market is faring.

Downingtown Area School District saw a 14% increase in sold listings in May 2010, compared to May 2009.  Pending listings have decreased by  56% and active listings have decreased by 45%.  There was a 13% decreased in average sales price to $292,054, while market times decreased by 34 days.

Downingtown

Active
Listings

Pending
Listings

Sold
Listings

Average
Sales Price

Average
DOM

May 2010

68

31

56

$292,054

58

May 2009

123

71

48

$335,718

92

In the West Chester Area School District, there was an increase in Sold listings  of 29% when compared to May 2009.  While pending sales decreased by 32% in May 2010 when compared to May 2009.  Average sales price increased by 6% to $342,317 and active listings decreased by 8% from May 2009.  Market times have decreased by 31 days.

West Chester

Active
Listings

Pending
Listings

Sold
Listings

Average
Sales Price

Average
DOM

May 2010

130

63

102

$342,317

60

May 2009

142

93

72

$323,482

91

Sold listing have increased by 28% in the Coatesville Area School District in May 2010 when compared to May 2009.  The average sales price increased by 8% to $235,468 and active listings decreased by 7%.  The number of pending home sales decreased by 33% when compared to May 2009, while homes were on the market on average 6 days more than in May 2009.

Coatesville

Active
Listings

Pending
Listings

Sold
Listings

Average
Sales Price

Average
DOM

May 2010

130

33

67

$235,468

85

May 2009

140

49

48

$217,375

79

A word of caution...markets within a school district can be very different from neighborhood to neighborhood. For the latest Chester County PA real estate market conditions in your neighborhood, please call me at 610-564-SCOT or visit ChesterCountyHomeSource.com.

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Scott Darling
RE/MAX Action Associates
403 W. Lincoln Highway #101
Exton PA 19341
(610) 594-SCOT
610-363-2001
Fax: (610) 363-5275