For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 15, 2004
Fact Sheet: Expanding Homeownership for All Americans
President Bush met with first-time homebuyers and housing
counselors in Ardmore, Pennsylvania to discuss his homeownership
initiative and aggressive agenda to dismantle the barriers to
President Bush's housing agenda is producing real results. The
overall U.S. homeownership rate set a new record of 68.6% in the fourth
quarter -- its highest level ever. Since the President announced his
initiative in June 2002, the Census estimates an increase of 1.53
million minority homeowners. In the fourth quarter of 2003, data was
released showing that -- for the first time ever -- the majority of
minority households are now homeowners. The minority homeownership
rate set a new quarterly record of 50.6%, up 1.3 percentage points from
the third quarter.
Signed into law by President Bush in December 2003, the American
Dream Downpayment Act, a fund to help approximately 40,000 families a
year with their down payment and closing costs, is set to begin helping
families early this spring.
The strong housing market is beneficial for families across the
Nation. American families have been refinancing due to historically
low interest rates, reducing their mortgage payments by hundreds of
dollars a month.
Background on Presidential Action
President Bush's initiative to dismantle the barriers to
homeownership includes providing down payment assistance through the
American Dream Downpayment Initiative; increasing the supply of
affordable homes through the Single-Family Affordable Housing Tax
Credit; increasing support for the Self-Help Homeownership
Opportunities Program; and increasing home-buying education and
counseling. In June 2002, President Bush issued America's
Homeownership Challenge to the real estate and mortgage finance
industries to encourage them to join the effort to close the gap that
exists between the homeownership rates of minorities and
non-minorities. The President also announced the goal of increasing
the number of minority homeowners by at least 5.5 million families
before the end of the decade.
Dismantling the Barriers to Homeownership
There are 1.53 million new minority homeowners in the U.S. since
the President's announcement 21 months ago.
The President's FY 2005 budget provides $2.5 billion over five
years to enact a single-family housing tax credit to increase the
supply of affordable single-family homes. The President's budget also
provides $45 million for housing counseling to support agencies
counseling families on home-buying -- more than double the amount since
2001. And President Bush has also requested $200 million for the
American Dream Downpayment Initiative -- making a difference in the
lives of low-income homebuyers.
The President's FY 2005 budget supports rural homeownership
through the Department of Agriculture with $2.7 billion in home
loan guarantees for low- to moderate-income rural residents and $1.1
billion in direct loans for very low to low-income borrowers who are
unable to secure a mortgage through a conventional lender. These loans
are expected to provide 42,800 homeownership opportunities to rural
families across America.
Through America's Homeownership Challenge, more than 2 dozen companies have made commitments to increase minority homeownership, including pledges to provide more than $1.1 trillion in mortgage purchases for minority homebuyers this decade.
The Federal Trade Commission and HUD are working together to
protect homebuyers from predatory lenders.
Strengthening America's Economy
As 2004 begins, America's economy is strong and getting stronger as a result of the President's pro-growth policies.
More single-family homes were sold in 2003 than in any other year on record, and the homeownership rate is at a record-high of
Housing starts in 2003 were at the highest level in 25 years and
home sales were the highest ever.
Mortgage rates remain near historic lows, making home buying
easier. In the fourth quarter of 2003, the housing affordability
index, which compares family income against mortgage payments, was at
the best level since 1973.
Increased housing prices have added nearly $4 trillion to
homeowner wealth since 2001.
Cash-out refinancing added $130 billion to household budgets in