While Hawaii military members were ecstatic over the increase in their Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for 2014, at the same time, many who want to buy a home on Oahu were discouraged by the decrease in the maximum amount for a 100% financed VA loan.
In 2013, Honolulu County’s maximum 100% financing amount was $750,000, but in January it dropped to $721,050 through the end of year. This number is based on the County median home values estimated by the Federal Housing Administration and is updated yearly. It also includes the VA funding fee, which for a first time buyer is 2.15% of the loan amount.
The other islands are as follows:
- Hawaii: $625,500
- Kalawao: $657,800
- Kauai: $713,000
- Maui: $657,800
What Does this Mean for VA Buyers?
It may not seem like that big a deal for most people since a lot of buyers who use their VA loan privileges are purchasing homes for well under that amount; however, there are many other VA buyers that were qualified to the maximum amount for 100% financing and were looking at homes in that $625,000-$750,000 range when the changes were implemented. Just last year, I helped a Physician in the Army buy a home for $750,000 with no down payment. He could not do that today.
A bit of good news for those buyers, is they could still buy a more expensive home with a VA Jumbo loan. The difference is that a down payment is required, which would be 25% of the purchase amount over the $721,050.
The 100% financing decrease has brought both the Lending and Real Estate industry in an uproar. Many companies whose businesses focus specifically on military buyers are protesting and writing Congress with compelling reasons to reverse this year’s numbers.
For most States and Counties, the VA loan limit for 100% financing had been $417,000 in past years. Honolulu County is among the highest 100% financing VA loan limits, along with some counties in California, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.