WASHINGTON — The Federal Housing Administration has a “close to 50” percent chance of requiring a bailout if the housing market deteriorates next year, the agency’s independent auditor said in a report released Tuesday.
The F.H.A., which offers private lenders guarantees against homeowner default, has just $2.6 billion in cash reserves, the report found, down from $4.7 billion last year.
The agency’s woes stem from the national foreclosure crisis. In the last three years, the F.H.A. has paid $37 billion in insurance claims against defaulting homeowners, shrinking its cash cushion.