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FHA eases burdensome condo financing rules

FHA eases burdensome condo financing rulesThe biggest source of funding for low-down-payment condo mortgages, the Federal Housing Administration, has revamped controversial rules that caused thousands of buildings across the country to lose their eligibility for FHA financing.

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The revised guidelines, which were issued Sept. 13 and took effect immediately, should make it easier for a large number of homeowner associations to seek certification by the FHA.

The previous rules prohibited FHA insurance of units in buildings where more than 25percent of the total floor space was used for commercial or nonresidential purposes. The revised rules allow exceptions of up to 35 percent commercial use, and provide for additional case-by-case exceptions to 50 percent or higher.

The Community Associations Institute, the condo industry’s largest trade group, ispredicting that the relaxed FHA rules will spark home sales and helps tens of thousandsof condominium communities begin to recover from the housing slump.

The new rules also offer greater flexibility on investor ownership. In existing developments, one or more investors are now allowed to own up to 50 percent of the total units provided that at least half of the units are owner-occupied. The previous rule required that no more than 10 percent of units could be owned by a single investor.

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