Sales of Existing Homes Increase in February

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

The Department said last week sales of previously owned single-family homes rose 2.0 percent from January to February, and 5.7 percent above the number of existing home sales of a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors reported sales of 6.12 million units last month, compared to 6.0 million units in January. This is only the eighth month on record that sales have topped the 6 million mark.

Earlier this month, HUD announced new adjustable rate mortgage products that will make homeownership available to an additional 40,000 families annually. In December, President Bush signed the American Dream Downpayment Act into law, providing down payment and closing costs assistance to 40,000 low-income families a year. And in January, HUD announced the FHA Zero Down Payment Initiative which, with the support of Congress, could generate an additional 150,000 homebuyers in its first year.

Other Administration proposals aimed at increasing the production of affordable housing and helping more low-income, minority families become homeowners include: $78 million increase for the Department's HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which will boost the supply of housing that is affordable to low-income families. The Department is requesting also an additional $5 million for housing counseling to help thousands more low-income individuals and families find and maintain homes.

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