A new program could save qualified borrowers $3,000 a year, even those who owe more than their home is worth.

The White House recently announced significant changes that will reduce the fees charged for the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) Streamline Refinance Program.

Beginning June 11, 2012, the Streamline Refinance upfront fee of 1%* will be reduced to 0.01% of the total loan amount. And the annual fee will be lowered from 1.15% to 0.55% of the total loan amount.

By refinancing through this streamlined process, the average qualified FHA-insured borrower will save approximately $3,000 a year or $250 per month, on top of any savings from refinancing to a lower mortgage rate.

The "streamline" refers to the minimal amount of documentation and underwriting that needs to be performed. Streamline refinancing can be done without an appraisal or income verification, providing the person(s) on the loan hasn't changed.

There are no loan-to-value (LTV) restrictions on streamline refinancing. This is significant for underwater borrowers whose loan amount may exceed the current value of their home. However, second liens must subordinate with a maximum combined LTV ratio of 115% based on the original appraised value of the property.

The basic requirements of a streamline refinance are:

  • The loan must already be FHA insured and endorsed on or before May 31, 2009.
  • Borrowers must be current on their mortgage payments with no late payment in the previous 12 months.
  • The refinance must result in a lowering of the borrower's monthly principal and interest payments.

Currently, 3.4 million households with loans endorsed on or before May 31, 2009, pay more than a 5% annual interest rate on their FHA-insured mortgages.

If you would like more information about the changes to the FHA's Streamline Refinance Program and what these lower fees could mean for you, please contact me today.

For example, a typical loan of $250,000 has 360 monthly payments of $1,193.54; Note rate 4.00%; APR 4.124%. Monthly payments do not include taxes or insurance so the actual payment obligation will be higher.