FHA loan is a federal assistance mortgage loan in the United States insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The loan may be issued by federally qualified lenders.
FHA loans have historically allowed lower income Americans to borrow money for the purchase of a home that they would not otherwise be able to afford. The program originated during the Great Depression of the 1930s when the rates of foreclosures and defaults rose sharply, and the program was intended to provide lenders with sufficient insurance. Some FHA programs were subsidized by the government, but the goal was to make it self-supporting, based on insurance premiums paid by borrowers.
Over time, private mortgage insurance (PMI) companies came into play, and now FHA primarily serves people who cannot afford a conventional down payment or otherwise do not qualify for PMI insurance.
A VA loan is a mortgage loan in the United States guaranteed by the Veterans Administration. The loan may be issued by qualified lenders.
The VA loan was designed to offer long-term financing to American veterans or their surviving spouses (provided they do not remarry).
The VA loan allows veterans 100% financing without private mortgage insurance or 20% second mortgage. A VA funding fee of 0 to 3.3% of the loan amount is paid to the VA and is allowed to be financed. In a purchase, veterans may borrow up to 100% of the sales price or reasonable value of the home, whichever is less. In a refinance, veterans may borrow up to 90% of reasonable value, where allowed by state laws.
As of January 1st, 2006, the maximum VA loan amount with no down payment is $417,000 and can be as high as $625,500 in certain high-cost areas. VA also allows the seller to pay all of the veteran’s closing cost as long as the cost does not exceed 6% of the sales price of the home.
A fixed interest rate loan is a loan where the interest rate doesn’t fluctuate during the fixed rate period of the loan. This allows the borrower to accurately predict their future payments. When the prevailing interest rate is very low, a fixed rate loan will be slightly higher than variable rate loans because the lender is taking a risk that he could get a higher interest rate by loaning money later.
Some fixed interest loans – particularly mortgages intended for the use of people with previous adverse credit – have an ‘extended overhang’, that is to say that once the initial fixed rate period is over, the person taking out the loan is tied into it for a further extended period at a higher interest rate before they are able to redeem it.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is an expression of the effective interest rate that will be paid on a loan, taking into account one-time fees and standardizing the way the rate is expressed. In other words, the APR is the total cost of credit to the consumer, expressed as an annual percentage of the amount of credit granted. APR is intended to make it easier to compare lenders and loan options.
The APR is likely to differ from the note rate or headline rate advertised by the lender. The concept of APR can be generalized. For example, lenders use the same concept to calculate their total earnings on loans and for determining their margin on the loan. Consumers can use the APR concept to compare savings accounts and calculate the earnings on a savings account, taking transaction costs into account.
In the US and the UK, lenders are required to disclose the APR before the loan (or credit application) is finalized. APR is a term used with regards to deposit accounts as well. However, when dealing with deposit accounts, Annual Percentage Yield APY or Annual Equivalent Rate AER is the number to be quoted to consumers for comparison purposes.