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FHA’s New Blueprint Is a Needed Step Toward Expanding Access to Affordable Mortgages

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 16, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — The following is a statement by Pamela H. Patenaude, Director of Housing Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, on the Federal Housing Administration’s Blueprint for Action:

“Expanding access to affordable mortgage credit is an urgent national priority. Our nation’s economic recovery depends on a strong housing market that allows creditworthy families to obtain mortgage financing on safe and affordable terms. Unfortunately, mortgage-lending standards have become so tight today that large segments of the U.S. population are being excluded from the opportunity to enter the homeownership ranks.

“The FHA’s Blueprint for Action is a timely and promising response to this problem. Importantly, the Blueprint recognizes that it is possible to responsibly increase mortgage access for underserved borrowers without exposing lenders and the taxpayers to significantly greater risk.

“The Blueprint’s Homeowners Armed with Knowledge (HAWK) initiative that proposes to reduce FHA mortgage insurance premiums for first-time homebuyers who participate in housing counseling is a particularly welcome development. Housing counseling has proven to be an effective tool in expanding access while promoting sustainable homeownership, particularly for low-wealth borrowers.

“We commend the FHA for putting forth this action-oriented plan and look forward to working with HUD as it implements the various components of the Blueprint.”