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FHA Down Payment Rule To Ban Seller Financing
By Nancy TrejosWashington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 29, 2007; Page D01

The Federal Housing Administration will prohibit borrowers from using seller-financed down payment assistance programs that have helped hundreds of thousands of people buy homes but have come under the scrutiny of federal authorities.

Such programs allow home sellers to give money to charities, which in turn assist buyers with their down payments. The sellers pay the charities a service fee, but often recoup the money by charging a higher price for the homes, usually 2 or 3 percent more, or an amount equal to the down payment, according to a 2005 study by the Government Accountability Office

In a conference call with reporters, Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery said the FHA will publish its new rule in the Federal Register on Monday. The rule, which is little changed from a preliminary version put out for comment in May, will go into effect 30 days after publication. "These contributions often function as an incentive to purchase the home," Montgomery said. "But these gifts are ultimately paid for by the borrower through a higher mortgage amount. The home buyers are often unaware that the 'gift' is something they end up paying for and is not a 'gift' at all."
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