By Laura Rubinchuk
When I heard about the new FHA DELRAP/HRAP guidelines for condo financing, my gut reaction was, “Well, I might as well go find another job.” Some of the subjective guidelines for the new approval process will greatly affect my market:
-Proximity to a noise (i.e. busy streets, highways)
-Proximity to a gas station
-Percentage of commercial space
And the list goes on, and on… For those of us in a Metropolitan/Urban environment, the whole point of condo living in the city is ease of travel and lifestyle. In the D.C. area, we have numerous major highways that lead into the District, the metro system, etc. and the majority of our high-rise condo buildings are located within blocks of these things.
So tell me how it makes sense to take buildings we’ve been selling for years with spot-approved FHA loans, taunt first-time buyers or other qualified buyers who have the minimum 3.5 percent down-payment, and tell them that because it’s the first of the month of this year, now they have to wait WEEKS to months for a green light on the home they fell in love with, if the seller is willing and/or able to wait at all!
Again, I ask, how does the economy continue to grow if the FHA puts the cabash on condo financing and eliminate the pool of buyers who don’t have the minimum 10 percent down-payment but qualify for the loan? Even funnier, why is the HUD website of approved condo projects only searchable from Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.? Does the site need beauty sleep?
I don’t intend to start a political debate, but I can’t help wondering if the underlying reasons are a bigger concern? Is the FHA running out of money? Are they trying to keep out some buyers so some remain for later in the year?