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The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) launched a new, fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to attract borrowers who had been priced out of the market. The CalHFA is also claiming that it will provide origination below market interest rates. Borrowers must meet income requirements in the state that vary by county. In Los Angeles County, the income must be less than $111,020 per year. The mortgage loans are limited to $417,000 under FHA guidelines. Borrowers must also complete a homebuyer-education program and have a 620 FICO score. Borrowers can also apply for the California Homebuyer's Downpayment Assistance Program, which could provide up to 3% of the purchase price of the home for downpayment or closing-cost assistance. A spokesperson for the CalHFA said the agency did not have an estimate for how many borrowers could qualify for the program. "California’s real estate market remains fragile as our state faces high unemployment and a continued disruption in housing prices," Spears said. "This new, 30-year fixed rate FHA mortgage is one piece of a broader effort to address California’s housing needs." The CalHFA received $699.6 million through the Hardest Hit Fund to subsidize mortgage payments for the unemployed, "cure" delinquent mortgages, write-down underwater loans, and transition borrowers out of homes they can no longer afford. Write to Jon Prior.

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