Today, President Obama gave a speech on housing and the middle class. The President’s speech aligned very closely with our mission to promote and protect affordable homeownership. As part of the strategy to make homeownership more accessible and sustainable for American families the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce annual FHA mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage point to 0.85 percent. The White House estimates that this will save new homeowners an average of $900 per month. As the president pointed out, that’s $900 that can go toward paying for groceries, heat, or a child’s education. The White House also predicts that a quarter-million families will be able to purchase a home in the next three years because of lower FHA mortgage insurance premium.
The President also championed continuing strong underwriting practices that will ensure these new loans are affordable for families in the long-term. He noted that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will continue to protect families by “cracking down on some of the worst practices that led to the housing crisis.”
We applaud President Obama’s call to make homeownership achievable for more low- to moderate-income families across the United States. At the Center, we know that affordable homeownership is affordable housing. In New York City alone, a quarter-million small property owners rent out units in their homes to other families creating more affordable housing. With more families gaining access to homeownership, the availability of these affordable rental units in will only continue to increase.