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 Home > News & Policies > April 2003

For Immediate Release
April 16, 2003

Statement on New Home Starts
Statement from HUD Secretary Mel Martinez

The Census Bureau today released data that shows the number of new home starts totaled an estimated 1.78 million in March, up 8.3 percent from February, and up 6.3 percent from March 2002. In addition, building permits were up 3.4 percent from a year ago.

"Today's figures are the latest sign that the nation's housing industry continues to thrive despite one of the harshest winters on record," said HUD Secretary Mel Martinez. "The Bush Administration remains committed to increasing the number of Americans who own their own homes - the key to wealth for most families - by adding millions of new homeowners, including 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the decade."

In addition to steady increases in these key housing indicators, in January the government released minority homeownership figures that showed a record high of 49.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2002, an increase of 0.8 percent from the third quarter. Last year, President Bush announced the Blueprint for the American Dream Partnership, an unprecedented public-private partnership to increase minority homeownership by helping to educate homebuyers, increase the supply of affordable housing, offer down-payment assistance and provide flexible financing options.

The Administration followed up that good news in February when it announced HUD's 2004 budget, which contains several proposals to increase the production of affordable housing, combat regulatory barriers and help more low-income, minority families become homeowners.

These proposals include:

  • A $113 million increase for HUD's HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which will boost the supply of housing that is affordable to low-income families;
  • $10 million for housing counseling to help thousands more low-income individuals and families find and maintain homes.
  • $200 million for the American Dream Downpayment Fund to help low- to moderate-income families become first-time homeowners;
  • $2 million for research to help reduce regulatory barriers to affordable housing;

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.