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Obama Moves to Increase Access to Responsible and Sustainable Homeownership

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

On Thursday, January 8, 2015, President Obama will formally announce plans in Phoenix, AZ to reduce the cost of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration – a government agency that secures mortgages primarily for lower and moderate-income borrowers, especially families of color.

The plans will:

  • reduce FHA premiums to help make mortgages more affordable;
  • build on successful policies that have helped lead the housing recovery;
  • preserve sound underwriting and strong consumer protections; and
  • continue to strengthen FHA's financial health.

The combination of higher pricing for lower-wealth borrowers, along with other constraints on credit, has dramatically limited access to homeownership by low to moderate-income borrowers, and continues to pose a serious challenge to the mortgage market as a whole.

The president's plans will relax some of the restrictions placed on credit-worthy, lower-wealth borrowers and borrowers of color who have heavily relied on FHA loans, while still preserving the agency's reserves.

The Center for Responsible Lending and other housing coalition members have consistently urged FHA to reduce the cost of its single-family mortgage insurance premiums to expand access to safer and more affordable mortgages to more creditworthy households.

Reacting to Obama's planned announcement, CRL president Mike Calhoun said, "This decision is financially sound, socially responsible, and good policy all at once. Homebuyers, homeowners and taxpayers will all benefit."

Details of the president's announcement can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/07/fact-sheet-making-homeownership-more-accessible-and-sustainable.

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For more information, contact Catherine An at 202-349-1878 or catherine.an@responsiblelending.org.