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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-92
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Monday
Or contact your local HUD officeFebruary 23, 1998


WASHINGTON - Here are comments by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo on a report released today by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showing a vast homeownership gap dividing cities and suburbs.

On Redlining

"Redlining and all other forms of housing discrimination are ugly stains from America's past that have no place in America today. This report proves that homeownership in America is still too often separate and unequal. For every three suburban residents who own their own home, only two city residents can make the same claim. This report shows that too often, families in inner-city America are denied a home not because of the numbers in their bank-book, but because of the numbers in their zip code."

On Raising FHA Loan Limits

"By law, the Federal Housing Administration helps people not served by the private market, particularly minorities, women, and city dwellers. But in too many places, the FHA is being asked to help people with one hand tied behind its back. In too many markets, FHA's loan limits are artificially low and out of whack with the markets we are mandated to serve. For example, in low-cost areas, the average home sells for $118,500. The FHA can only loan up to $86,300. In middle-cost areas, the average home sells for $158,000. We're limited to $128,300. In high-cost areas like Boston, New York, and California, the average middle class family pays about $200,200 for a home. We can only go as high as $170,300. Because the FHA can't be there, middle-class families pay the price."

" Why? Because in 1977, Congress changed our loan limits. Up until then, they were the same as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Today, lenders and bankers are forced to deal with more than 225 different FHA limits nationwide -- and all the duplication, red tape, and headaches that go with it. We are proposing to raise the FHA loan limits to help more families buy their own homes and to create one simple, simplified system for everyone, everywhere. This proposal is a win-win situation for everyone, because it will help three million additional families qualify to buy their own homes, it will earn taxpayers an additional $225 million, and it will create one simplified system for mortgage lenders nationwide. In doing so, it will help this Administration meet two of our goals -- eight million new homeowners by the year 2000, and the elimination of barriers that impede our ability to become one America."

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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