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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

FHA expands mortgage eligibility for Covid-affected borrowers

Federal Issues FHA Mortgages HUD Covid-19 Consumer Finance

Federal Issues

On July 7, FHA announced expanded mortgage eligibility for qualifying borrowers who previously experienced employment gaps or loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Under Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2022-09, salaried and hourly wage-earners, as well as self-employed individuals impacted by a Covid-19 related economic event (defined “as a temporary loss of employment, temporary reduction of income, or temporary reduction of hours worked during the Presidentially Declared COVID-19 National Emergency”), who now have stable income will have a greater opportunity to purchase a home using affordable FHA-insured mortgage financing. Specifically, ML 2022-09 updates calculation guidelines for a borrower’s effective income under certain sections in the Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1. While ML 2022-09’s provisions are effective for all case numbers assigned on or after September 5, 2022, lenders may begin using the policies immediately. According to FHA Commissioner Julia Gordon, the changes further agency efforts “to facilitate recovery from COVID-19 and support access to homeownership, particularly for populations most deeply impacted by the pandemic.” Gordon noted that the pandemic impacted “the livelihoods of tens of millions of workers in this country, particularly workers of color and those at the lower end of the wage scale.”