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New low down payment mortgages aim to make homeownership more accessible

Dec 12, 2014

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced that first-time home buyers can now qualify for loans with down payments as low as three percent. That will expand credit for qualified home shoppers who may have been sidelined the last few years because of higher down payment requirements, housing analysts say. 

Freddie Mac launched “Home Possible Advantage,” a conventional mortgage program with a three-percent down payment requirement geared to low- and moderate-income borrowers. To qualify, first-time homebuyers are required to participate in a borrower education program. 

Fannie Mae’s three-percent down payment offering requires borrowers to still meet standard eligibility requirements, including underwriting, income documentation and risk management standards. Any buyer can take advantage of Fannie’s loans as long as at least one co-borrower is a first-time buyer. The loans will require private mortgage insurance. 

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