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Senate passes FHA downpayment bill

October 21, 2002

Legislation to simplify requirements for FHA-insured mortgages

Inman News Features

The FHA Downpayment Simplification Act (S. 2239), introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), was passed by the Senate yesterday.

The bill would amend the National Housing Act to permanently simplify the downpayment requirements for FHA-insured mortgages for single-family homebuyers.

The bill, as reported out of the Senate Banking Committee on September 12, also includes a repeal of the scheduled increase in the Ginnie Mae guarantee fee, and was amended to also allow for the indexing of FHA multifamily loan limits.

"The FHA Downpayment Simplification Act is a bill that has real world benefits for low- to moderate-income consumers," said Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of America said it supports the Senate bill as a significant step toward increasing homeownership and improving the supply of affordable rental housing. "In addition to fostering homeownership opportunities, this bill will enable lenders and builders to create more affordable rental housing in areas of the country where such housing construction has been stalled due to high costs," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, MBA's SVP of government affairs.

In addition, the bill was backed by the National Association of Home Builders. "The (NAHB) fought hard to have this important housing legislation passed by the Senate before Congress adjourns for the year," said NAHB President Gary Garczynski. "S. 2239 contains several components to make rental housing and homeownership more affordable and obtainable for American families. I urge the House to move quickly on this measure when it reconvenes next month," he said.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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