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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 12, 1997


Today, we are making it even easier for thousands of young families to buy their first home. I am pleased to announce that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is reducing the FHA's up-front mortgage insurance premium by 12.5 percent. This reduction, coupled with two previous reductions and savings passed on to homebuyers because of better government efficiency, will save families buying a first home a total of $1,200. Just last year, FHA premium cuts reduced the downpayments for 550,000 families across the country.

In 1994, I called upon the Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop a strategy to boost homeownership to an all-time high -- to produce 8 million new American homeowners by the year 2000. Through our National Homeownership Strategy, more than 2.5 million American families have already become homeowners. Today, more Americans are homeowners than at any time in history.

We know homeownership is strengthening families and stabilizing neighborhoods. As part of that strategy, I challenged HUD to do what it could to remove some of the barriers young families face when buying their first home. Too often, front end closing costs -- not monthly payments -- stand between a hard working family and a new home. Our goal was to cut those up-front costs by $1,000; with today's action, we have cut those costs by $1,200.

I applaud Secretary Cuomo for going the extra mile, surpassing the challenge I set in 1994, and providing the extra boost needed to make the dream of homeownership a reality for thousands more families.