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FHA Announces ‘First Look’ Initiative to Help Communities Stabilize Neighborhoods Hard-Hit by Foreclosure

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RISMEDIA, July 13, 2010—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new initiative that gives state and local governments, and nonprofit organizations participating in HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) preference to acquire homes from the Department’s inventory of foreclosed properties, commonly known as “HUD homes.” The initiative was announced by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan at the National Council of La Raza annual conference in San Antonio, Texas.

A Notice outlining this temporary initiative will be published this week in the Federal Register. This Notice details how the sale of HUD Homes under the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA’s) First Look Sales Method will align NSP and FHA requirements to provide NSP grantees an exclusive option to purchase HUD homes before they are marketed to other purchasers.

“This First Look initiative is a marriage of two programs to accelerate our effort to confront property abandonment in communities struggling to overcome the effects of the foreclosure crisis,” said Secretary Donovan. “By essentially giving our NSP grantees a first bite at the apple, we hope to accelerate the sale of FHA’s foreclosed properties while supporting the Obama Administration’s neighborhood stabilization efforts.”

Through the FHA First Look Sales Method, HUD will offer NSP grantees a preference (“First Look”) to acquire available HUD homes within the defined boundaries of NSP-designated areas. Furthermore, First Look will provide NSP purchasers with the opportunity to purchase FHA properties at a discount of 10% below their appraised value, less the cost of any applicable listing and sales commissions.

The FHA-NSP First Look period will last approximately 14 days from the conveyance of a property to FHA. Properties that remain unpurchased at the expiration of the First Look period will be listed and sold according to standard FHA procedures. Eligible NSP grantees may acquire these properties with the assistance of NSP funds for any eligible use under NSP, including rental or homeownership. This sales method becomes effective today and continues through May 31, 2013.

HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program was created to address the housing crisis, create jobs and grow local economies by providing communities with the resources to purchase and rehabilitate vacant homes. NSP grants are helping state and local governments, as well as non-profit developers acquire land and property; demolish or rehabilitate abandoned properties; and/or offer downpayment and closing cost assistance to low- to middle-income home buyers. Grantees can also stabilize neighborhoods by creating “land banks” to assemble, temporarily manage and dispose of foreclosed homes.

FHA employs a variety of methods to sell its foreclosed properties in a manner that expands homeownership opportunities, strengthens neighborhoods and communities and ensures a maximum return to the mortgage insurance fund.

For more information, visit www.hud.gov.

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