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Reverse mortgage for buyers debuts

New program frees up cash for seniors, addresses flipping
Published on Jan 28, 2009

Reverse mortgages have been available for more than two decades for older homeowners who have accrued a significant amount of equity in their homes. Now, the government is backing a program to help older homeowners purchase a home with the increasingly popular financing program. The Federal Housing Administration, a component of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, insures the nation's most popular reverse mortgage known as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 recently approved the HECM-for-purchase program, allowing lenders to close the mortgages after Jan. 1, 2009. The move allows older homeowners to make a large down payment on a new home and then utilize the reverse mortgage as permanent financing. The same law reduced the maximum loan fee on reverse mortgages to 2 percent on the initial $200,000 of the home's value and 1 percent on the balance thereafter, with a cap of $6,000. Previously, HECM fees...

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