President Bush signed historic legislation today that props up mortgage financers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and authorizes a $300 billion expansion of Federal Housing Administration loan guarantee programs. But the sweeping housing bill, HR 3221, inevitably has its critics -- including Housing Secretary Steve Preston, who's unhappy that Congress has placed a one-year moratorium on the use of "risk based" premium pricing for FHA loan guarantees. Home builders are also bracing for the elimination of seller-funded down payment assistance with FHA-guaranteed loans beginning Oct. 1. Others in the housing industry are lamenting that a $7,500 tax credit for first-time homebuyers that will expire July 1, 2009, must be repaid over 15 years -- making it, in effect, an interes...
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