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Housing rescue bill passed in US

BBC [1]
Thursday, July 24, 2008

The US House of Representatives has passed a massive housing rescue bill that could help struggling homeowners get cheaper loans.

The vote came after the White House announced that President George W Bush had dropped his threat to veto it.

The bill will now be passed to the Senate for approval before being signed into law.

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More than a million Americans have lost their homes in the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression.

President Bush’s change of heart came despite his objection to a provision for $3.9bn (£1.95bn) in community grants to buy up and repair repossessed homes.

Under the rescue plan, hundreds of thousands of homeowners trapped in mortgages they cannot afford on homes that have fallen in value would be able to refinance their mortgages with more affordable, fixed-rate loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

The bill would set up the first national licensing system for mortgage brokers and other loan officers.

It also includes a tax break of as much as $7,500 for first time home buyers, as well as help for troubled mortgage finance providers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Full article here [1]