FHA loans accounted for nearly half of all home mortgages issued in 2012, averaging around 60,000 each month. But that approval process will come to a grinding halt if there’s a shutdown next week, as only 3.8% of the entire Dept. of Housing and Urban Development staff will be allowed to continue working.
“FHA will be unable to endorse any single-family loans and FHA staff will be unavailable to underwrite and approve new loans,” writes HUD in its shutdown contingency plan [PDF]
This is also true, reports CNN, for loans backed by the Veteran’s Administration and for the rural development loans of the United States Department of Agriculture.
So if your FHA mortgage is still pending, the process will be delayed until HUD gets back up and running. A day or two won’t make much of a difference, but a lengthy delay could spoil some buyers’ plans. First-time and lower-income home buyers often rely on the lower down-payment requirements for FHA loans in order to get their foot on the first rung of the property ladder. If an anxious seller backs out of a deal because of a delay in an FHA-backed loan, the buyer would have to start from scratch.