There was a welcome addition to the "Safeguarding the American Dream" symposium held in Washington D.C. yesterday. The Mellman Group released the results of their most recent poll concerning The Expanding American Homeownership Act. The poll was commissioned by Wells Fargo and surveyed the opinions of 1000 adults across the nation, the results of which are heavily in favor of the Act.
Not surprisingly, most Americans (52%) don’t know anything about this act. However, after hearing a brief description 80% are in favor of the Act while just 12% opposes it. It was found that African Americans were more knowledgeable about the Act. Sixty-five percent of African Americans were aware of the Act, compared to the slight minorities of whites and Hispanics, 45% and 49% respectively. Not only were African Americans more aware of the Act, but they are also substantially more in favor of it. Before hearing a brief description of the Act, 43% of African Americans favored the bill as opposed to 23% of whites and 30% of Hispanics. After hearing the description, favorability of the bill jumped in all demographics, but African Americans were still more in favor of the Act (88%) than whites (78%) and Hispanics (81%).
The Expanding American Homeownership Act is a response to the recent downturn in the subprime mortgage loan industry. Public backlash towards predatory loans has created a huge demand for expanding the powers of HUD and the Federal Housing Administration, which would allow for more government assistance to those with less than perfect credit. The Expanding American Homeownership Act would raise loans limits and areas with higher costs of living, such as New York and California. Some amendments have even considered eliminating the mandatory 3% downpayment required for all FHA loans. A similar bill was introduced last year and while it passed the House it failed in the Senate. The new Congress and the shift in public support will play key factors in whether or not the bill passes this year.