Reassessing FHA Risk
28 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2010 Last revised: 7 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 2010
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance has doubled over the past two years and is projected to redouble to $1.5 trillion over the next five. Despite clear signs of strain in the FHA's Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, a recent actuarial review indicates that the FHA will not need any form of government support. We identify four risk factors that make such a funding request more likely; the review underestimates how many FHA borrowers are underwater and in economic distress; it uses measures of house values that lower loss estimates; it does not incorporate early-warning signals of future losses that are available from mortgage delinquency; and it ignores potential risks associated with recent down-payment assistant programs despite higher losses on previous programs of this type. We propose measures that could be taken to improve the predictive accuracy of FHA risk assessment.
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