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WASHINGTON – Legislation introduced Feb. 3 by House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) – the Zero Down Payment Act of 2004 (H.R. 3755) – would eliminate the down payment requirement for families and individuals who buy homes with FHA-insured mortgages. The measure which has nine co-sponsors including Housing Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) and Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee Chairman Robert Ney (R-Ohio), would be available to first-time homebuyers who meet FHA’s underwriting requirements and who could afford monthly mortgage payments. According to projections by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, about 150,000 households would qualify for the new loan in just the first year. According to Ney, when President Bush signed the American Dream Downpayment Act in to law last year, “we learned that the biggest obstacle to homeownership for most families is the inability to come up with enough cash to meet down payment and closing costs. Minority families in particular are burdened by high down payment requirements,” said Ney. Families that qualify for the zero down payment mortgages would be charged slightly higher insurance premiums on their home loans that would be applied to cover the costs of the program. “Offering FHA mortgages with no down payment will unlock the door to homeownership for hundreds of thousands of American families, particularly minorities,” said Tiberi. “Those who can afford the monthly payment but have been unable to save for a down payment, should not be deprived of homeownership,” he said. Oxley said Tiberi’s legislation “will be a top priority for the Housing Subcommittee this year.” Other co-sponsors of H.R. 3755 include Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.), Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), Mark Green (R-Wis.), Mike Turner (R-Ohio), Ken Lucas (D-Kent.), William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), and David Scott (D-Ga.)

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