US Senate approves 300 billion dollars to help homeowners
The US Senate approved a bill Friday to protect homeowners tied to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the wake of the smoldering real estate and credit crisis.
The legislation, approved 63-5 offers an estimated 400,000 to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure by refinancing their subprime mortgages into fixed-rate loans backed by the government, Bloomberg financial news service said. The bill also offers tax incentives to prospective homebuyers and sets aside 4 billion dollars to help communities buy foreclosed properties.
Together the government backers of real estate mortgages own or guarantee about half of all US home loans, or 5 trillion dollars worth.
Now a similar version of the bill must go before the US House of Representatives for consideration within the next two weeks, before a final draft is presented for President George W Bush to consider.
Although previously threatening a veto, the Bush administration has indicated a willingness to compromise. However, the White House has argued that setting aside cash for communities to buy foreclosed properties, would benefit lenders who own vacated properties rather than help individuals keep their homes, dpa reported.