Recently, there were changes made to the FHA condo regulations on which projects can be FHA insured or not.
According to a Washington Post rundown of the changes, a major one is the “spot approval” that used to be acceptable to be eligible for an FHA loan. Another article goes more in depth on the issues this is causing for condo home sellers.
The agency eliminated spot approval earlier this year. Now, any condo buyer with an FHA loan must stick to an FHA-approved building. A lender, developer/builder, homeowners association or management company can submit a package to the FHA seeking approval. The change was part of a broader initiative to tighten FHA condo policy. Some elements of that initiative have been temporarily loosened through Dec. 31 to try to stabilize the condo market.Why? Condos are widely considered the market’s shakiest segment because they are popular with speculators and financially vulnerable entry-level buyers. A lot of foreclosure-related losses have come from condos, which is why industry policies have forced lenders to look more closely at the makeup of entire complexes before extending loans.
Without that FHA approval, it ties the hands of many buyers, as most would then need more money for a downpayment, which they may not have.
I did a quick spot check on Timonium condos on the HUD site where you can review FHA condo approval statuses. I was sad to see how many had expired, leaving any sellers in those buildings at a disadvantage! Of the 23 Timonium condo communities that came up when I searched 21093, 16 of them have expired. Here is a pdf of the Timonium FHA condo statuses as of today.
This is not good news, and I hope that the associations are working toward their re-certifications, though I understand across the US that many have tried and been denied over technicalities or other issues, and that the penalty for a director providing incorrect information (even if in error) faces $1 million in fines & up to 30 years in jail, so many are not willing to take on the risk.
Hopefully there will be another resolution on this matter, so affected condo owners aren’t hurt more by the inability to sell to FHA homebuyers.