FHA loan is a federal assistance mortgage loan in the United States insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The loan may be issued by federally qualified lenders.
FHA loans have historically allowed lower income Americans to borrow money for the purchase of a home that they would not otherwise be able to afford. The program originated during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the rates of foreclosures and defaults rose sharply, and the program was intended to provide lenders with sufficient insurance. Some FHA programs were subsidized by government, but the goal was to make it self-supporting, based on insurance premiums paid by borrowers.
Over time, private mortgage insurance (PMI) companies came into play, and now FHA primarily serves people who cannot afford a conventional down payment or otherwise do not qualify for PMI.