I am currently wanting to buy either a multifamily property or single family and live in one unit, rent out the rest.
I am also locked into a lease (12 months from now - just started it). If I were to buy a property and use an FHA loan, by stating that I will use the property as my primary residence, does this have a reasonable expectation that it will become my permanent residence promptly after purchase? Would my best route be to just wait until I am out of the lease, or is there a way to swing buying a home with the FHA while residing in a different place for a few months after purchase?
Yes, you are supposed to move in after the purchase which is why you are given the benefits of an FHA loan. Although illegal you could not move in and rent the place out (and probably get away with it) this wouldn't be a good decision.
If you find a good property I would try and get out of your lease (sublease ?) or find a way to make it work.
I believe you'd need to be (genuinely) INTENDING to move in within 60 days of closing. ie. Any reason for not doing so should not have been foreseeable at the time of signing that promise to your FHA-approved Lender.
Likely, the Lender could grant an extension/exemption if ASKED, as soon as known. Never lie to them. All the best...
As the others stated, I would try to get out of your lease or just wait until your lease is up to buy the property. You can request to go month-to-month with your landlord until you close on your house. It's definitely best to move in right away to avoid any issues. However, as long as you have the unit you're planning on living in vacant and you've at least shown progress towards moving in, I'm sure you'll be fine.