It’s a bit of a misnomer, since Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are not loans at all. What they do is insure loans so that lenders can offer mortgage assistance to people who:
- Have fair or poor credit
- Have a low down payment (must have at least 3.5%)
- Have undergone bankruptcy
- Have been foreclosed on
Essentially, the federal government insures loans for FHA-approved lenders so that lenders reduce their risk of loss if they lend to borrowers who could default on their mortgage payments. The FHA program has been in place since the 1930s to help stimulate the housing market by making loans accessible and affordable. Traditionally, FHA loans have helped military families who return from war, the elderly, handicapped, or lower-income families, but really, anyone can get an FHA loan – they are not just for first-time home buyers.