An FHA home loan is a mortgage issued by federally qualified lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). FHA loans were originally designed for low to moderate income borrowers who were unable to make a large down payment. Recently HUD pushed loan amounts higher to help with the growing demand for loans above the conventional conforming limits. FHA loans allow the borrower to borrow up to 96.5% of the value of the home. The 3.5% down payment requirement can come from a gift or a grant, which makes FHA loans popular with first-time buyers.