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Will Downpayment Assistance Help the U.S. Housing Market?

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RISMEDIA, May 28, 2009-With home prices falling nearly 20% in the first quarter of 2009, Ann Ashburn, president of AmeriDream outlined four reasons why the U.S. economy and the next generation of homeowners would benefit from downpayment assistance funded in part by sellers (DPA). Congress is currently considering H.R. 600, bipartisan legislation that would make DPA an allowable gift source for creditworthy borrowers of Federal Housing Administration loans.

“AmeriDream continues to provide full support to H.R. 600, which will stabilize home values, protect taxpayers, encourage responsible homeownership, and create jobs,” said Ashburn. “These are four compelling reasons to make DPA an important part of our national economic recovery strategy.”

1. Stabilize home values. DPA can help stop the downward spiral in home values across the country by encouraging qualified homebuyers with FHA loans to enter the housing market. An estimated 300,000 homebuyers are eliminated from the housing market every year without DPA programs in place.

2. Protect taxpayers. H.R. 600 allows private partnerships between sellers and non-profits to provide downpayment gifts to qualified homebuyers at no cost to the taxpayer. That makes H.R. 600 a fiscally responsible alternative to government-subsidized downpayment assistance programs being considered by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.

3. Encourage responsible homeownership. H.R. 600 will enable 300,000 additional families and individuals- all qualified and approved for FHA loans- to become homeowners each year. The bill also requires that DPA recipients be offered homebuyer education courses to help them understand the financial responsibilities of homeownership. Lastly, H.R. 600 implements tougher credit requirements for DPA recipients, strict FHA underwriting guidelines, and stiff penalties for improper home appraisals.

4. Create jobs. DPA will create 235,000 jobs, generate over $4 billion annually in local and state revenues, and provide $2 billion annually in private capital for sustainable homeownership. DPA’s absence prompts fewer home sales, lower home values, more foreclosures, job losses, and lower revenues for cash-strapped local governments. H.R. 600 is a vital mechanism to stabilizing the U.S. housing market.

For more information, visit www.ameridream.org.

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