Government-backed loans will soon require you to have good credit and a decent down payment

Ever get the feeling that sometimes, just sometimes, the universe is just not going your way? That after the Big Bang, the rest of the cosmos is speeding off in one direction, while you are stuck at a bus stop in Secaucus?

Well, if you are a potential home buyer, you may soon feel that way as the government announces it will cost you more -- lots more maybe -- to secure a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration, which may put you and that home you want light years apart.

What's happening is the government will soon require not only that you have a higher credit score (really, do you know anyone who actually has a higher credit score nowadays?) but that you put down more than the current 3.5% minimum down payment. Speculation is you may soon have to folk over at least 5% down to get an FHA-backed loan.

More than one real estate agent is expressing concern that higher credit scores and bigger down payments may keep many first time home owners on the sidelines. Should that happen, it could nip in the bud any hope of a meaningful recovery in the housing market in the U.S.

But the government apparently feels it has little choice: The FHA may itself soon require a government bailout.

The political and/or economic wisdom of the coming increases can be argued from here to eternity (or to that bus stop you're still at in Secaucus); but the fact of the matter is, the bottom line is YOU are likely to soon have to pony up more money (not to mention get your fiscal house in order to help improve that credit score) for the government to lend you a helping hand and to hand over to you that 30-year, fixed rate mortgage.

Charles Feldman is a journalist , media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle."

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