FHA Capital Reserves Post Healthy Gain, but HUD Signals No Sign of a Premium Cut
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today released its annual report to Congress that shows the agency’s capital reserve ratio grew by more than $8 billion in fiscal 2018 to a total economic net worth of $34.86 billion.
In a sign that the housing recovery continues to make gains, the independent actuarial analysis shows that for the fourth straight year, FHA’s reserve ratio of its Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (Fund) has exceeded the congressionally mandated 2% threshold. The capital reserve ratio jumped from an upwardly revised 2.18% in 2017 to 2.76% this year.
In an official statement, NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said: “The report clearly shows that actions instituted by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery to enhance the agency’s capital reserves are showing positive results. It’s also another indicator that FHA’s financial picture continues to brighten and should provide momentum for the agency to consider a mortgage insurance premium reduction to help first-time home buyers and young families seeking to enter the housing market.”
However, in a conference call with reporters, FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery indicated that despite the positive report, it was still premature to consider a mortgage insurance premium cut in the near term, since many factors go into such a decision other than the overall health of the Fund.
“The financial health of FHA’s single-family insurance fund is sound,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a press release. “FHA is in good hands, guarding against excessive risks, protecting the American taxpayer and remaining true to our core mission to facilitate safe and affordable mortgage options for qualified borrowers.”
The Fund’s growth was fueled by the Single Family Forward Portfolio program, which posted a capital ratio of 3.93% and a positive economic net worth of $46.8 billion. These gains were partially offset by losses in the volatile reverse mortgage portfolio, which posted a negative capital ratio of 18.83% and was valued at minus $13.63 billion. Steps have been taken to address the problems in the reverse mortgage portfolio, but they have only recently taken effect.
For more information, contact Curtis Milton at 800-368-5242 x8597.