The Federal Housing Administration would be able to insure $700,000 single-family mortgages in high-cost areas under an amendment the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee wants to attach to an FHA reform bill the House is expected to vote on soon.The FHA reform bill (H.R. 1852) already raises the FHA loan limit in high-cost areas from $362,790 to the $417,000 conforming loan limit, which is the upper limit on the loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can purchase. But the House Financial Services Committee chairman, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Reps. Gary Miller, R-Calif., and Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., have filed an amendment with the House Rules Committee to raise the maximum FHA loan limit to 175% of the conforming loan limit, or $729,750, to address problems in the jumbo loan market. "The amendment modifies FHA loan limits to permit loans up to the lower of (a) 125% of the local media home price, or (b) 175% of the 2007 GSE national conforming loan limit [indexed in subsequent years] -- with additional HUD authority to raise limits by area or unit size by up to $100,000 if market conditions warrant," according to a summary of the Frank-Miller-Cardoza amendment.

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