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B5-5.1-02, Community Seconds Loan Eligibility (05/04/2022)


This topic contains information on Community Seconds loan eligibility, including:

Eligible Community Seconds Providers

A Community Seconds loan may only be funded by the following entities, provided they are not the property seller or other interested party in the transaction:

  • a federal agency, state, county, or similar political subdivision of a state;
  • any city, town, village, or borough of a state that
    • has a local government and that has been created by a special legislative act,
    • has been otherwise individually incorporated or chartered pursuant to state law, or
    • is recognized as such under the constitution or by the laws of the state in which it is located,
  • a housing finance agency as defined in 24 C.F.R. §266.5;
  • a nonprofit organization exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • a regional Federal Home Loan Bank under one of its affordable housing programs;
  • an employer where a borrower is an employee (see  B3-4.3-08, Employer Assistance);
  • a lender, only in connection with an employer-guaranteed Community Seconds mortgage as part of its affordable housing program; or
  • an Indian tribe on the most current list published by the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to 25 U.S.C. §5131.

Note: A corporation or other legal entity created by or owned in whole or in part by such an Indian tribe is not eligible unless it qualifies as a Tribally Designated Housing Entity, as defined in 25 U.S.C. §4103(22).

Community Seconds Loan Terms and Proceeds

The following requirements apply to the Community Seconds loan:

  • The Community Seconds loan must be subordinate to the loan purchased by Fannie Mae.
  • Community Seconds loans are only eligible on principal residence transactions. They are not permitted on second homes, investment properties, or co-op properties.
  • The Community Seconds loan may be used to fund all or part of the down payment provided the Community Seconds is not funded in any way through the first mortgage, such as premium pricing. 
  • Community Seconds proceeds may fund closing costs, renovations to the property (including energy-related improvements), or a permanent interest rate buydown.

Rural Development Section 502 Leveraged (Blended) Loan Program

The subordinate lien originated in connection with a conventional first mortgage under the RD Section 502 Leveraged (Blended) Loan Program is eligible for the Community Seconds program. The standard review of Community Seconds programs described in  B5-5.1-01, Community Seconds Mortgages, is not required; however, the subordinate lien must meet all RD guidelines. See  B6-1-05, Eligible RD-Guaranteed Mortgages, for additional information.

Minimum Borrower Contribution Requirements

The following table describes the minimum borrower contribution requirements for transactions that contain a Community Seconds:

LTV, CLTV, or HCLTV Ratio Minimum Borrower Contribution Requirement from Borrower’s Own Funds
80% or less One- to four-unit principal residence A minimum borrower contribution from the borrower’s own funds is not required. All funds needed to complete the transaction can come from a Community Seconds.
Greater than 80% One-unit principal residence A minimum borrower contribution from the borrower's own funds is not required. All funds needed to complete the transaction can come from a Community Seconds.

Two- to four-unit principal residence

The borrower must make a 5% minimum borrower contribution from his or her own funds. After the minimum borrower contribution has been met, a Community Seconds can be used to supplement the down payment, closing costs, and renovations (including those that are energy-related) or to fund a permanent interest rate buydown.

See B5-6-02, HomeReady Mortgage Underwriting Methods and Requirements, for additional information about HomeReady mortgage minimum borrower contribution and down payment requirements.

Additional Requirements

In addition to HomeReady mortgages (see Chapter B5–6, HomeReady Mortgage), non-community lending mortgages may be used in a Community Seconds transaction with the following limitations:

  • All non-community lending mortgages are eligible, with the exception of ARMs with an initial fixed-rate period of less than 5 years.

  • The transaction is limited to a purchase or limited cash-out refinance.

  • For a limited cash-out refinance transaction, the Community Seconds mortgage holder must acknowledge the lien position by executing a subordination agreement, which must be recorded to ensure enforceability.

  • Only principal residences are eligible.

  • If the product is secured by a manufactured home, the loan must comply with all manufactured home policies, including the LTV and CLTV ratios.

  • The maximum LTV of the underlying product remains unchanged.

  • If the mortgage does not have an independent CLTV cap (such as the CLTV cap for manufactured housing that does not meet the MH Advantage requirements), the CLTV can be expanded to 105%, provided the subordinate financing meets all conditions of a Community Seconds mortgage.

  • Non-community lending mortgages do not mandate any income restrictions for the borrower(s); the income limits that the Community Seconds provider imposes will apply.


Repayment of the Community Seconds mortgage may be structured in any number of ways as long as the terms are consistent with terms Fannie Mae considers acceptable, including:

  • requiring fully amortizing, equal monthly payments;

  • deferring payments for some period before changing to fully amortizing, equal monthly payments;

  • deferring payments over the entire term, unless the loan is paid off or the property is sold before the maturity date of the mortgage; or

  • forgiving the debt over time.

When the borrower’s employer is the provider of the Community Seconds mortgage, the financing terms may provide for the employer to require full repayment of the debt should an employee’s employment terminate (either voluntarily or involuntarily, for reasons other than those related to disability) before the maturity date of the Community Seconds mortgage.

Where repayment of the Community Seconds mortgage is deferred for five years or more, a lender is not required to include a monthly payment for the Community Seconds mortgage in its calculation of the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio. Where repayment is deferred for fewer than five years, the lender must include the monthly payment amount that will be required after the end of the deferral period in its calculation.

The maturity date of the Community Seconds mortgage, or the due date of any balloon payment on the Community Seconds mortgage, may not be before the earlier of 15 years after the note date of the first mortgage, or the maturity date of the first mortgage.

The interest rate for the Community Seconds mortgage must be fixed and may not be more than 2% (200 basis points) higher than the initial note rate of the first mortgage.

Note: Interest that is imposed as a penalty should the mortgage be declared in default and called due and payable under its terms is not subject to this interest rate cap.

The Community Seconds mortgage may not provide for negative amortization, however, because negative amortization will occur if the interest rate is greater than zero and the payment of interest is deferred for a period of time, negative amortization will be acceptable provided:

  • the amount of scheduled monthly interest deferred on the Community Seconds mortgage for any full calendar month within the initial five years (of the Community Seconds loan) may never exceed the scheduled monthly principal payment of the first mortgage for that month (see below for an example);

  • interest is accrued on a simple-interest basis at a fixed rate; and

  • the accrued interest is fully deferred until
    • sale or transfer of the property,

    • the loan is refinanced or the first mortgage is paid in full, or

    • declaration of an event of default under the subordinate note or the security instrument.


In the following example, the loan is eligible as the amount of deferred, accrued interest for July on the Community Seconds loan is less than the scheduled principal payment for the first mortgage for the same month.

Note date: May

First payment date: July

First Mortgage Community Seconds
UPB $150,000 $30,000
Interest rate 5% 7%
Maximum accrued, deferred interest July NA $175.00 ($30,000 @ 7% / 12)
Scheduled principal payment July $180.23 NA

Subsidizing the Sales Price

As an additional affordable lending tool, the Community Seconds option is sometimes used by eligible providers as a means to “subsidize” the sales price of a property. Unlike traditional Community Seconds in which the funds are used to supplement the borrower’s down payment or closing costs, the Community Seconds transaction secures the subsidy amount, thereby imposing a type of resale restriction.

Occasionally, a government agency will contract with a local nonprofit corporation to administer the subsidy. Under these circumstances, the nonprofit corporation may be considered a “government agency” if the lender can document that the sole source of the subsidy provided by the nonprofit is from the government agency and the nonprofit is merely acting as the administrator. A typical scenario where the subsidization may occur is the case of a government agency approaching a developer with incentives to provide a certain percentage of the units within the project at a below market sales price (typically 10% to 20% less).

These incentives can include:

  • reduced permit and inspection fees, and

  • expedited review and approval of permit applications for the builder.

In addition, because the government agency typically maintains a waiting list of eligible applicants, the builder is provided with prospective buyers for the properties.

The eligible provider secures a Community Seconds mortgage against the property representing the difference between the market sales price and the reduced sales price accepted by the builder (referred to as the subsidy). In most cases, the subordinate loan has deferred payments and will be forgiven at the end of a set period of time, typically the term of the first mortgage. The subordinate loan acts as a resale restriction by preventing the borrower from selling the property at a profit or obtaining a cash-out refinance. The terms of the loan may not, however, restrict the sale of the property upon foreclosure or acceptance of a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

When the subordinate loan is used as a subsidy to reduce the sales price to the borrower, the “unsubsidized sales price” must be used in determining:

  • the minimum down payment;

  • the borrower contribution, if applicable, that must be made from the borrower’s own resources; and

  • the level of mortgage insurance.

The unsubsidized sales price represents the market sales price, and is calculated by adding the reduced sales price by the builder plus the subordinate loan amount secured by the government agency.

The LTV and CLTV ratios are calculated using the lesser of the unsubsidized sales price or the appraised value.

The following example is provided for clarity. It assumes:

  • the market sales price equals the appraised value, and

  • a borrower contribution of 5%.

Item Value
Market Value (supported by appraisal) (the unsubsidized sales price) $150,000.00
Community Seconds mortgage representing subsidy amount $ 40,000.00
Buyer’s Purchase Price; i.e., reduced sales price (the subsidized sales price) $110,000.00
Closing Costs/Prepaids $ 5,000.00
Total Cost to Borrower $115,000.00
Borrower Contribution (5%) $ 7,500.00
First Mortgage Amount (may never exceed the subsidized sales price) $107,500.00
LTV Ratio 71.67% (rounded to 72%)
CLTV Ratio 98.33% (rounded to 99%)

Lenders must review the terms of the Community Seconds program to ensure that the program otherwise meets the requirements of Community Seconds found in  B5-5.1-01, Community Seconds Mortgages.

These transactions can be underwritten manually or with DU. When using DU, the lender must enter “Affordable LTV” in the Product Description field in the online application, which will result in DU calculating the LTV and CLTV ratios based solely on the appraised value for purchase transactions (and not the lesser of the sales price or appraised value).

Provider’s Share in Appreciation in Value

The repayment terms of the Community Seconds mortgage may provide for the provider to share in any appreciation in the value of the security property in lieu of charging interest.

If the Community Seconds mortgage provides for both a stated interest rate and a sharing in the property appreciation, the first mortgage cannot be sold to Fannie Mae unless the provider chooses only one of the options.

The appreciation in value must be based on:

  • the actual sales price of a property that is sold on the open market,

  • the appraised value of the property, or

  • the amount of a successful bid at a foreclosure sale.

When the property is subsequently sold (or foreclosed), the sales price or value determination should be paid, first, to the first mortgagee in an amount required to pay off the first mortgage in full, and only then, to other entitled parties, such as the Community Seconds provider and the borrower.

The provider’s share of the equity generally may not exceed the percentage derived by dividing the original principal amount of the Community Seconds mortgage by the original value of the property.

However, the provider’s share in the appreciation can be greater than this calculated percentage in two instances:

  • As long as the Community Seconds program gives the borrower the right to recover all of the following before the provider is able to share in the appreciation:

    • any portion of the down payment that came from the borrower’s own funds,

    • reasonable costs of selling the property (such as a sales commission),

    • the costs of any improvements made to the property (as long as they were allowed under the program guidelines),

    • the principal portion of all payments the borrower made on the first mortgage.

  • As long as the provider’s share does not initially exceed 75% and is reduced over time so that the percentage of the appreciation will be equal to or less than the percentage usually allowed by no later than five years after the date the Community Seconds mortgage was originated.

Recent Related Announcements

The table below provides references to the Announcements that have been issued that are related to this topic.

Announcements Issue Date
Announcement SEL-2022-04 May 04, 2022
Announcement SEL-2022-02 March 02, 2022
Announcement SEL-2018-05 June 05, 2018
Announcement SEL-2018-04 May 01, 2018
Announcement SEL-2017-10 December 19, 2017
Announcement SEL-2017-06 July 25, 2017
Announcement SEL-2016–03 March 29, 2016
Announcement SEL-2015–10 September 29, 2015
Announcement SEL-2015–08 July 28, 2015
Announcement SEL-2015–07 June 30, 2015
Announcement SEL-2014–11 August 26, 2014
Announcement SEL-2014–07 June 24, 2014
Announcement SEL-2013–07 September 24, 2013
Announcement SEL-2012–07 August 21, 2012
Announcement SEL-2012–06 June 26, 2012
Announcement SEL-2011–05 June 28, 2011
Announcement SEL-2010–13 September 20, 2010
Announcement SEL-2010–07 May 27, 2010


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