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Federal Housing Administration to reduce annual insurance premiums, saving homeowners avg $500 this year

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said on Monday the Federal Housing Administration will reduce the annual premiums most borrowers will pay by a quarter of a percent.

The FHA is reducing its annual mortgage insurance premium by 25 basis points for most new mortgages with a closing or disbursement date on or after Jan. 27. The new rates are projected to save new FHA-insured homeowners an average of $500 this year, Castro said.

The secretary said consumers are facing higher credit costs as mortgage interest rates increase.

"After four straight years of growth and with sufficient reserves on hand to meet future claims, it's time for FHA to pass along some modest savings to working families," said Castro.

"This is a fiscally responsible measure to price our mortgage insurance in a way that protects our insurance fund while preserving the dream of homeownership for credit-qualified borrowers."

The new rates come as the FHA enters a fourth straight year of improved economic health, the administration said. The FHA gained $44 billion in value since 2012.

"We've carefully weighed the risks associated with lower premiums with our historic mission to provide safe and sustainable mortgage financing to responsible homebuyers. Homeownership is the way most middle class Americans build wealth and achieve financial security for themselves and their families," Ed Golding, principal deputy assistant secretary for HUD's Office of Housing, said in the report.

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