FHA Waives Anti-Flipping Rule Through Year-End to Speed REO Sales.

According to FHA, the waiver contains strict conditions and guidelines to prevent the predatory practice of property flipping, in which properties are quickly resold at inflated prices to unsuspecting borrowers.

Among these conditions, all transactions must be arms-length, with no link between the buying and selling parties.

In addition, in cases in which the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller’s acquisition cost, the waiver will apply only if the lender meets specific conditions, and documents the justification for the increase in value.

FHA’s property-flipping waiver is limited to forward mortgages, and does not apply to the agency’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for purchase program.

Since the original waiver went into effect on February 1, 2010,FHA has insured nearly 42,000 mortgages worth more than $7 billion on properties resold within 90 days of acquisition.

The agency says its own research has found that in today’s market, acquiring, rehabilitating, and reselling foreclosed properties to prospective homeowners often takes less than 90 days.

As a result, FHA says prohibiting the use of its mortgage insurance for a subsequent resale within 90 days would adversely impact the willingness of sellers to consider offers from potential FHA buyers, namely because they would be required to cover holding costs and the risk of vandalism that comes with allowing a property to sit vacant over a 90-day period of time.

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