Government agencies have announced changes that allow for “Dreamers”—U.S. residents with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status—to qualify for FHA mortgage loans, as well as a deadline extension on mortgage forbearance for people who already have these loans and are struggling to make payments.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced last week that the roughly 700,000 people with DACA status are now eligible to apply for FHA mortgages provided that they are also legally permitted to work in the U.S. There was a previously existing clause that required borrowers to have “lawful residency”—which originally created confusion with lenders. With the change, immigrants brought to the country illegally as children can now access these loans.
Federally-backed FHA loans are traditionally used by lower-income, first-time home buyers, as the credit and down payment requirements (as low as 3.5%) for these mortgages are more flexible than conventional, private loans. Earlier this month, the Federal Housing Administration also announced that they increased FHA loan limits to 7.4% for 2021 to keep pace with rising real estate prices—you can see the new limits here. And if you’re thinking about applying for an FHA loan, you can find more information here.
Additional COVID relief for FHA borrowers
In a separate announcement related to COVID relief, HUD also announced a deadline extension for FHA borrowers to apply for and receive forbearance. Homeowners impacted financially by the pandemic can qualify for up to six months of deferred or reduced mortgage payments (although interest still accrues in accordance with the terms of the loan), provided that they request it by March 31, 2021. An additional six-month extension to the initial forbearance term is also possible.
Borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages seeking additional information on available options should visit FHA’s COVID-19 Resources for Homeowners webpage.