Given the stack of feedback we received following last month’s coverage of the FHA’s proposed increase of mortgage insurance premiums, Multifamily Executive decided to reach out to the FHA’s deputy assistant secretary of multifamily housing, Marie Head, for an update on what the industry can expect to see from the agency this year. The full version of the interview can be found in next month’s issue of Apartment Finance Today, but here’s a preview:
MFE: What sort of multifamily volume do you expect to get done this year compared to the number from last year?
Head: Right now we are tracking to meet the same volume that we did last year. A lot of that is due to the fact that some of the loans that were leftover from last year we are getting through the process now. So, I think we are going to be on track to do the same amount of business we did last year.
MFE: What are you expecting in terms of tax credit business? Are you expecting more than last year?
Head: Yes. In fact, we have seen some increases in our volume in the tax credit program, which is another very good reason for the tax credit pilot program. But from 2011 compared to 2009, we saw a 149 percent increase in the number of firm commitments that were issued both for new construction, for purchases and rehabilitation of some older tax credit properties.
MFE: I was hoping you could talk a little bit about the Mortgage Insurance Premiums and where we are in the process of raising them right now.
Head: We published our proposal to increase the MIP a couple of months ago. And let me just say that we are being very proactive, ensuring that we are managing the risk profile that we are now dealing with and that also we are not underpricing our product in the marketplace. This is truly a balancing act and that’s our No. 1 priority for making sure that we are managing the risk with the new types of loans that we are doing. We see a lot of new, large loans that historically FHA has not processed. We are being proactive in assessing that risk for historically a marketplace we have not been in.
MFE: How would you respond to concerns about the MIP increase from industry trade groups?Head: I would say to them that FHA, again, is in a market where we have not played before and we need to proactively manage the risk that’s associated with that. And [we are] forward thinking in that arena rather than relying on historical data in a budgeting model that did not have the new parameter of what we’re dealing with in it.