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CUOMO TELLS MORTGAGE BANKERS HUD WILL INCREASE HOMEOWNERSHIP BY IMPROVING FHA AND LAUNCHING NEW INITIATIVES
NEW YORK -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said today that HUD is working to increase the nation's homeownership rate with a series of actions, including new reforms of the Federal Housing Administration and a focus on boosting homeownership among minorities, female-headed households, and in cities.
Speaking to a conference of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, Cuomo said the actions will help continue the rise in homeownership, which is heading toward a record rate.
"The boom in homeownership isn't a fluke or an accident," Cuomo said. "It's the direct result of an economic policy put in place by President Clinton to reduce the deficit, balance the budget, and get our fiscal house in order."
Cuomo said the FHA, which has helped more than 30 million American families become homeowners since 1934, is being improved to run more like a business, under a series of management reforms he has instituted at HUD.
Under the reforms:
In other initiatives, Cuomo announced:
"The ranks of American homeowners should look like America," Cuomo said. "Not only is it fundamental to the President's vision for one America -- it's one of the greatest untapped homebuying markets of tomorrow."
The U.S. homeownership rate rose to 65.7 percent in the second quarter of 1997 -- the highest quarterly rate in nearly 17 years. Cuomo said 67.1 million American households now own their homes -- the highest number in U.S. history and an increase of 5.3 million since President Clinton took office in 1993.
Among whites, the homeownership rate rose 0.5 percentage point to 72.1 percent during the quarter. However, while the homeownership rate for minorities edged up by 0.4 percentage point during the quarter it was only 45.7 percent. Female-headed households increased their homeownership rate by 0.8 percentage point to 51.3 percent.
The central city homeownership rate rose slightly by 0.1 percentage point to 49.9 percent. The suburban homeownership rate rose by 0.5 percentage point to 72.6 percent.
"We must continue making a special effort to reduce the gap in homeownership between whites and minorities, between households headed by women and other households, and between our suburbs and our cities," Cuomo said. "For far too many hard-working American families, homeownership remains an unfulfilled dream."
Cuomo said the National Partners in Homeownership -- a coalition of 63 national groups representing the housing industry, lenders, non-profit groups and all sectors of government -- has played a key role in increasing the homeownership rate. HUD created the Partnership at President Clinton's direction in 1995, as part of the President's National Homeownership Strategy. HUD also helped create 123 local partnerships modeled after the National Partnership in communities around the country.
Cuomo said the nation is on track to reaching President Clinton's goal of an all-time high homeownership rate of 67.5 percent by the end of the year 2000. The increase would be achieved by boosting the number of homeowners by 8 million from the beginning of 1995. The number of homeowners has increased by 3.1 million since 1995.
The latest quarterly homeownership rate of 65.7 percent nearly equals the previous record of 65.8 percent set in the third quarter of 1980. The rate is the second-highest quarterly rate since quarterly statistics were first tabulated in 1965.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009