We have already told you about FHA’s plans to increase their up front mortgage insurance and monthly mortgage insurance. But wait - there’s more.

FHA plans to impose significant restrictions on the amount of money a seller can contribute to closing. FHA has always been good in the residential real estate market in offering down payments of 3.5%, despite the recession and growing its market share by more than 20%. The problem is while doing this the FHA’s insurance fund capital reserves have deteriorated well below congressional mandated levels. FHA delinquency has risen to 12.4% in that time, almost double that of VA which sits at 6.6%. With all of this happening at the same time, FHA is under fire to get their books back in order and rebuild their reserves.

The changes may not be all they have in store for FHA but the initial changes will be painful enough. So, if you are active duty military or a veteran with an honorable discharge, a VA loan is the way to go. It is still $0 down with no monthly mortgage insurance and the sellers can still help pay a good portion of your closing costs. With interest rates still historically low and housing prices at their lowest in years, now is the time to buy.

If you have any questions about your VA qualifications, please contact Creekside Mortgage, Inc. at 360.571.LOAN (5626).

New Years Resolutions and settle into our routines many people discount exercise as the item that needs to stay on the agenda. With March 12th – 18th being Brain Awareness Week, it is a good time to think about ways to keep your brain alert and healthy.

As we get older, our cognitive functions slow down. Regular exercise helps prevent age and disease related brain deterioration. Physical fitness benefits the brain not only by boosting our cognitive abilities, but also by helping to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain encouraging the formation of new brain cells and supplying those cells with oxygen and nutrients. When you exercise your body you exercise your brain! So, when your body is fit so it your brain.

The more regular your exercise program, the more long term benefits your body and brain will derive from it. So, if you feel your heart pumping in your chest and you are breaking a sweat you are doing your brain a huge favor”. For more information on how you can get active contact Stefanie Fisher, owner of Vancouver Adventure Boot Camp at 360-823-9636.

We receive regular updates about the changes happening in the market. These updates allow us to keep you as a consumer informed of changes which could affect you.

As of April 1st, the FHA is planning on making some changes which will have an impact on all future purchases and refinances through the FHA programs. Please see the updated information below about these changes.

“As part of ongoing efforts to encourage the return of private capital in the residential mortgage market and strengthen the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, Acting FHA Commissioner Carol Galante today announced a new premium structure for FHA-insured single family mortgage loans. FHA will increase its annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) by 0.10 percent for loans under $625,500 and by 0.35 percent for loans above that amount. Upfront premiums (UFMIP) will also increase by 0.75 percent. These premium changes will impact new loans insured by FHA beginning in April l and June of 2012. Details will soon be published in a Mortgagee Letter to FHA-approved lenders.

The UFMIP will be increased from 1 percent to 1.75 percent of the base loan amount. This increase applies regardless of the amortization term or LTV ratio. FHA will continue to permit financing of this charge into the mortgage. This change is effective for case numbers assigned on or after April 1, 2012.

FHA estimates that the increase to the upfront premium will cost new borrowers an average of approximately $5 more per month. These marginal increases are affordable for nearly all homebuyers who would qualify for a new mortgage loan. Borrowers already in an FHA-insured mortgage, Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), and special loan programs outlined in FHA’s forthcoming Mortgagee Letter will not be impacted by the pricing changes announced today.

Taken together, these premium changes will enable FHA to increase revenues at a time that is critical to the ongoing stability of its Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund, contributing more than $1 billion to the Fund, based on current volume projections through Fiscal Year 2013.”

If you have any questions about your mortgage needs, please contact Creekside Mortgage, Inc. at 360.571.LOAN (5626).

We would like to welcome John “JJ” Burke to the Woodland Chamber of Commerce.

Burke, a retired Coast Guard Officer originally from Massachusetts, was announced Wednesday as the new director for the Woodland Chamber of Commerce by Judy Bartlett, the board’s group president. Burke, a long time resident of Woodland and the owner of JJ’s Computer Repair, will report to his new job at the Chamber, which has nearly 200 members, starting Monday.

JJ is also a member of the Woodland City Council and he ran for mayor in 2011.