As US home purchases fall, White House to assist first-time buyers

WASHINGTON D.C.: The White House announced this week that it will help some 850,000 first time home buyers save some $800 a year on the cost of a typical mortgage by reducing fees on Federal Housing Administration loans.

The Federal Housing Administration charges the fees to insure lenders against riskier loans often taken out by lower-income home-buyers.

Vice President Kamala Harris will announce the plan to lower the fees on loans during an event in Bowie, Maryland.

In January, as interest rake hikes driving up inflation pushed mortgage rates higher, making property unaffordable for many first-time buyers, US home sales declined to their lowest levels in more than 12 years.

Government data released last week showed that in January, single-family homebuilding and permits for future home construction continued declining.

According to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac, a 30-year fixed mortgage increased to an average rate of 6.32 percent last week, from 6.12 percent during the previous week.