Q: Is it true that starting January 1, 2009, it is a requirement to put 3.5 percent down on the purchase price when buying a home?

A: The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) has indeed raised the minimum down payment amount for a loan from 3 percent to 3.5 percent as of January 1. This assumes that your housing cost-to-income ratio is no more than 31 percent.

In other words, you cannot spend more than 31 percent of your gross monthly income on your mortgage, homeowners’ insurance premium and real estate tax payments.

For more details, go to www.hud.gov.

Jan. 19, 2009.