Rising metro Phoenix home prices and mortgage rates are making it tougher for many buyers.
But the federal government is offering some help for first-time buyers.
The Federal Housing Administration has raised loan limits on its mortgages, meaning buyers can qualify more easily for higher-priced homes — particularly since home prices are up at least seven percent from last year.
About 800 Valley home buyers a month used an FHA loan in 2018.
Dean Wegner of Scottsdale-based Guardian Mortgage said FHA loan increases often give the housing market a boost, but due to higher home prices the limit needs to increase more in metro Phoenix.
The limit on FHA mortgages will climb to $314,827 in 2019. That’s up from $294,515 last year and from $279,450 in 2017.
Though FHA loans require as little as 3.5 percent down and are easier for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit to get, they can be pricier.
The government-backed loans require home buyers to pay annual insurance of up to 1 percent of the loan, in case the homeowner stops making payments.
Ali Wolf of national housing firm Meyers Research said Phoenix is one of the cities that will benefit the most from higher FHA loan limits.
Metro Phoenix's median existing-home price is about $262,000. The area’s median new home price is about $318,000.
He estimates 35 Valley subdivisions are now selling new homes priced below the higher FHA loan limit.
Dallas only has about 15 developments selling homes priced in the FHA loan range.