FHA Sets New Premium Structure for 15- and 30-Year Loans to Boost Capital Reserves , by Nationalmortgageprofessional.com

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As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) capital reserves, FHA Commissioner David H. Stevens has announced a new premium structure for FHA-insured mortgage loans increasing its annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) by a quarter of a percentage point (0.25) on all 30- and 15-year loans. The upfront MIP will remain unchanged at one percent. This premium change was detailed in President Obama’s fiscal year 2012 budget and will impact new loans insured by FHA on or after April 18, 2011.

“After careful consideration and analysis, we determined it was necessary to increase the annual mortgage insurance premium at this time in order to bolster the FHA’s capital reserves and help private capital return to the housing market,” said Stevens. “This quarter point increase in the annual MIP is a responsible step towards meeting the Congressionally mandated two percent reserve threshold, while allowing FHA to remain the most cost effective mortgage insurance option for borrowers with lower incomes and lower down payments.”

The proposed change was announced last week as part of the Obama Administration’s report to Congress, which outlined the Administration’s plan to reform the nation’s housing finance system. The Administration’s housing finance plan also recommended that Congress allow the present increase in FHA conforming loan limits to expire as scheduled on Oct. 1, 2011.

This premium change enables FHA to increase revenues at a time that is critical to the ongoing stability of its Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) fund, which had capital reserves of approximately $3.6 billion at the end of FY 2010. The change is estimated to contribute nearly $3 billion annually to the Fund, based on current volume projections. It is vital that HUD take action to ensure that FHA will continue to serve its dual mission of providing affordable homeownership options to underserved American families and first-time homebuyers while helping to stabilize the housing market during these tough times.

On average, new FHA borrowers will pay approximately $30 more per month. This marginal increase is affordable for almost all homebuyers who would qualify for a new loan. Existing and HECM loans insured by FHA are not impacted by the pricing change.

FHA will continue to play an important role in the nation’s mortgage market in 2011. President Obama’s FY 2012 budget projects the FHA will insure $218 billion in mortgage borrowing in 2012. These guarantees will support new home purchases and re-financed mortgages that significantly reduce borrower payments.

Construction is nearing halfway on the Children’s Hospital, by Julie Reed, Eliot Neighborhood Association Blog

The structural framework for the new nine-story, 334,000 sq. ft. Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel has created a visible presence on the east Portland landscape. The new building project is 45 percent complete and is expected to open in spring 2012.

The project reached an important milestone this fall with the completion of structural steel. That progress was celebrated at a “topping out” event attended by 350 business, community, health and political leaders, donors, hospital staff and other guests from around the region. Guests signed a 31-foot steel beam that was placed on top of the new building. Fourth graders from nearby Boise-Eliot Elementary led the crowd in a flag wave to signal the crane operator to raise the beam to the top of the 164 ft. high structure.

The topping out celebration featured presentations by Legacy Health President and CEO George Brown, M.D., Legacy Board Chair Colleen Cain and Congressman Earl Blumenauer. “This is an exciting time for Legacy Health and the future of health care for our children,” said George Brown, M.D. “We know that children and families are better served by having access to the best health care facilities available.”

Construction activity throughout the winter months will focus on interior framing, rough-in installation of the electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems, steel fireproofing, and installation of the exterior sheathing for the building.

The new hospital project is the main feature of a comprehensive $242 million campus enhancement initiative that includes the addition of a new 425-vehicle capacity parking structure, new utility power plant featuring Green Guide for Healthcare™ design and engineering, and enhancements at Emanuel Medical Center.

Features of the new 165-bed Children’s Hospital include:

Building design and construction incorporate the Green Guide for Healthcare™ health care industry standards for sustainable design and construction practices to create high performing healing environments.

Evidenced based design principles have been used to create patient rooms, work spaces and family areas that serve the special healthcare needs of children and promote patient and family-centered care to maximize healing and comfort.

A 22-room Children’s Emergency Department (ED) doubles the size of the current facility.

A 22-bed Children’s Day Surgery Unit.

A Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) with sky bridge access to Labor and Delivery and the Family Birth Center. The NICU will feature 31 single private rooms, and 7 rooms for twins.

A 24-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with large private rooms so parents and family can remain with their children and work closely with caregivers during treatment.

Four floors of private patient rooms for specialized pediatric services such as Oregon’s only inpatient rehabilitation program, cardiology, hematology/oncology, neurology, orthopedics, and trauma.

Watch the construction progress on the project web camera.  Keep track of progress and join the conversation on Facebook.

NECN Opposes Rose Quarter’s Inclusion in ICURA, King Neighborhood Association Blog

Reflecting the dissatisfaction many North and Northeast residents feel with the incomplete urban renewal that has resulted from the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area, the NECN Board of Directors has taken the position that the inclusion of the Rose Quarter district in the URA would siphon off remaining funds to projects that would have little benefit to N/NE residents.

“The NECN Board feels strongly that Rose Quarter projects, which are large and discontinuous with the North/Northeast community, will pull resources away from more community-based projects within the ICURA boundaries. For the first ten years of ICURA, the majority of the funding went to two large projects, the Interstate Light Rail project and the New Columbia project. Now that there is additional funding available, it should be spent on neighborhood level projects that benefit existing North and Northeast residents.”

Read the full letter here: NECN Position on ICURA-RoseQuarterJan 2011

U.S. Homeowners in Foreclosure Process Were 507 Days Late Paying, by John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg.com

U.S. homeowners in the foreclosure process were an average of 507 days late on payments at the end of last year as lenders handled a record rate of mortgage delinquencies, Lender Processing Services Inc. said today.

The average grew 25 percent from 406 days at the end of 2009, according to the Jacksonville, Florida-based mortgage processing and default management company.

“The sheer volume of loans going through the system is going to extend those timelines,” said Herb Blecher, senior vice president for analytics at Lender Processing. Foreclosure processing also was slowed by “an abundance of caution” in the last three months of 2010 after lenders were accused of using faulty documentation and procedures to seize homes, he said.

A national jobless rate of 9 percent is increasing loan defaults and weighing down prices as foreclosed properties sell at a discount. Homeowners with 6.87 million loans — 13 percent of all mortgages — were at least 30 days behind on their payments as of Dec. 31, Lender Processing said.

Florida led the nation with a 23 percent delinquency rate, followed by Nevada at 21 percent, Mississippi at 19 percent, and Georgia and New Jersey at 15 percent, the loan processor said.

California homeowners who didn’t make their mortgage payments had the longest average wait before receiving a notice of default at 379 days, followed by Florida at 349 days, Maryland at 345 days, New York at 344 days, and Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., at 341 days.

Delinquent homeowners held onto their properties for the longest in Vermont, where it took an average 754 days to lose their homes, followed by 697 days in New York, 695 days in Maine, 688 days in Florida and 682 days in New Jersey.

The number of U.S. homes receiving a foreclosure filings may climb 20 percent this year, reaching a peak of the housing crisis, as banks step up the pace of seizures, RealtyTrac Inc. said Jan. 13. A record 2.87 million properties received notices of default, auction or repossession last year, according to the Irvine, California-based data provider.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Gittelsohn in New York at johngitt@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net.