Mortgage Financing:

Actuarial Soundness of the Federal Housing Administration's Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund

GAO-01-527T: Published: Mar 20, 2001. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 2001.

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Through the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, the Federal Housing Administration operates a single-family insurance program that helps millions of Americans buy homes. Last year, the Fund's economic value appeared to have reached its highest level in the last 20 years--prompting proposals to spend some of the Fund's current resources or reduce net cash flows into the Fund. This testimony discusses (1) the financial health of the Fund under different economic scenarios and (2) the impact of proposals to reduce the size of the Fund. Under several scenarios it tested, GAO found that the Fund would be able to withstand moderately severe economic downturns. However, in three other scenarios GAO tested, the Fund would not be able to maintain its actuarial soundness. Because of the professional judgment and uncertainty involved in these analyses, GAO urges caution in using these estimates to conclude that the Fund would withstand any particular economic scenario under all circumstances. Congress and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development have taken and could take several steps to influence the economic value of the Fund. However, those actions will affect the federal budget, and, if not accompanied by spending reduction in other areas of the government, the federal budget surplus will decline.

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