The waiver, which was soon set to expire, is “intended to accelerate the resale of foreclosed properties in neighborhoods struggling to overcome the possible effects of abandonment and blight,” Carol J. Galante, the acting Federal Housing Administration commissioner, said in a statement. “FHA remains a critical source of mortgage financing and stability and we must make every effort to promote recovery in every responsible way we can.”
An anti-flipping rule originally took effect in 2003 to stop a spike in home flipping that was being blamed on driving up home prices during the housing boom. The rule prevented FHA-backed loans from being used to purchase homes that had been owned by a seller for less than 90 days. But the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development decided to reconsider the 90-day limit in 2010 after skyrocketing foreclosures and abandoned homes were causing blight in neighborhoods across the country and hampering nearby property values.
The temporary waiver to the anti-flipping rule will allow buyers and investors to quickly resell refurbished homes and not have to wait 90 days to do so. Since the waiver took place in 2010, FHA has insured nearly 42,000 mortgages worth more than $7 billion on homes resold within 90 days of the last purchase, according to HUD.
“It’s certainly an inducement to move real estate and reduce inventories,” says Don Cameron, a real estate investor who owns a franchise of We Buy Ugly Houses in South Florida. “Why wait 90 days before you can close on a home?”
The waiver, however, still prevents predatory flipping, and sellers must justify any increases in value if the sales price of the property is 20 percent more than what the seller had recently purchased it for (such as by providing extra documentation on renovation expenses). Sales also must be in “arms-length, with no identity of interest between the buyer and seller or other parties participating in the sales transaction.”