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U.S. Representative Maxine Waters Passes Legislation That Will Give Millions of American Families the Opportunity to Own Their Own Homes

July 27, 2009
Press Release

U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (CA-35) and Rep. Robert Ney (OH-18) today overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5121, the "Expanding American Homeownership Act of 2006."  The legislation received virtually unanimous support and passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 415 to 7.  H.R. 5121 will revitalize the 72-year-old U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA), enabling it to make home ownership more accessible to millions of moderate to low-income American families.

"California has lost more than 120,000 FHA loans in the last six years and nearly 2,000 in the 35th Congressional district alone," said Representative Waters. "By modernizing FHA to compete in a 21st century lending market, Congress will reverse this alarming trend and make it possible for many first-time home buyers and low-to-moderate income families to purchase homes of their own."

According to DataQuick Information Systems, the median cost of a home in the Los Angeles Metro Area is approximately $517,000, but, currently, the FHA can only work with loans up to about $363,000, leaving little wiggle room for aspiring home owners in the area to actually purchase homes.  H.R. 5121 will increase loan limits in high cost areas like Los Angeles, making home ownership more accessible.

Rep. Waters added, "This legislation is going to give Americans—especially the people of California—more flexibility.  It is going to plant the dreams of homeownership on a solid foundation of reality, and instead of paying thousands of dollars a year in rent, more people will know the joy of taking that same money and putting it toward building equity in their own home."

H.R. 5121 will:
• Increase FHA loan limits in high cost areas
• Remove the FHA cap on reverse mortgages used by seniors
• Extend FHA mortgage terms from 30 years to 40 years
• Expand the products offered by FHA, allowing it to serve more low and moderate income Homebuyers