Senate passes housing rescue plan, Bush to sign soon

July 27th, 2008 - 12:23 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 26 (DPA) The US Senate Saturday passed a multi-billion dollar bill to address the ongoing crisis in the American housing market, paving the way for US President George W. Bush to sign the long-waited rescue package next week. The legislation will allow some 400,000 struggling homeowners to refinance into government-backed, low-interest loans and approves a contingency plan in the event that mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are threatened with collapse.

The 72-13 Senate vote came after the House of Representatives approved the measure and Bush dropped his opposition to the bill earlier this week.

Plunging housing prices have led a record number of US homeowners to default on their mortgages in the past year, costing financial institutions nearly $500 billion in writedowns of mortgage-related assets.

RealtyTrac Inc Friday reported that foreclosure filings had surged 121 percent in the second quarter from the year-earlier period.

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