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Restoring investors to 203(k) program ‘high priority’ for FHA

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

If you're eager to see the Federal Housing Administration's 203(k) rehab program reopened to investors, do you want the sobering news first or the good news? OK, first the good news. In discussions I had last week with FHA officials, they confirmed that the agency has heard -- and is sympathetic to -- the pleas from Realtors, lenders, homebuilders, contractors and small investors to bring back 203(k), which has been closed to investors since the mid-1990s. Not only does HUD agree that the program has great potential to help clear away some of the vacant and rundown REOs (bank-owned homes) that blight many urban neighborhoods around the country, they said, but the agency now ranks reopening 203(k) to investors as a high priority. That's got to be gratifying news for the Realtors, rehabbers and mortgage bankers who've been pounding away on the subject for years. Most recently, the Mortgage Bankers Association, headed by FHA's immediate past commissioner, David Stevens, made a strong case...