Secretary Jackson on April Housing Starts

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Department and the Census Bureau yesterday released data showing that new home construction in April rose 20.3 percent from April 2003. Total building permits were also up 11.2 percent from a year ago.

"These numbers show that housing is still leading the way in our rebounding economy. This Administration is committed to building on these accomplishments by breaking down the barriers and making it easier for more families to realize the dream of homeownership," said Secretary Jackson. "The President's housing initiatives will pave the way for more Americans, particularly minorities, to achieve that dream."

In March, HUD announced new adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) products that will make homeownership available to an additional 40,000 families annually. 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. These are in addition to the American Dream Downpayment Act which President Bush signed into law last December, that will provide down payment and closing costs assistance to 40,000 low-income families a 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. HUD 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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