Table 3. Ginnie/USDA Highlights and Comparison to Ginnie/FHA
Program Attribute Ginnie/USDA Ginnie/FHA
Geography Includes 34% of U.S population.*
This is much higher than in other
definitions of “rural.”
1. About 16% of the
population live outside of
2. About 23% of the
population is classified as
rural by the US Census
Maximum LTV ratio 100% (102% with financed
96.5% (98.25% with financed
Income limit The law provides a limit of 115%
of median area income. In
practice, the USDA income limit
well exceeds 115% of median
Debt limit Principal, interest, taxes, and
insurance: 29% of gross monthly
Total of all monthly debts: 41%
of gross monthly income
Both limits have some flexibility.
Median for total-debt-to-income
ratio is about 42%, with about
17% being greater than 50%.
Mortgage limit None (income limit and debt
formulas create an effective
Ranges from a floor of $271,050
for one-unit properties to a ceiling
of $729,750 for one-unit properties 6
in higher-cost areas.
2% upfront and 0.30% annually
on loan balance.
Present value estimated at
1.75% and 1.2% or 1.25%
annually on loan balance.
Present value estimated at 7.15%
Credit history No minimum FICO credit score.
Applicants must have reasonable
While no minimum FICO score,
program requirements effectively
limit to a minimum 580 score.
Limit on seller
None Current: Less than or equal to 6%.
Proposed: Greater of 3% or
*Housing Assistance Council, Estimating Potential Changes to USDA-RD’s Eligible Area Designations (Washington, DC:
Author, September 11, 2011), www.ruralhome.org/storage/documents/usdaeligibilityreport.pdf (March 5, 2012).