A bill that helps home buyers afford energy improvements and encourages banks to offer a discount on loans to pay for reducing energy usage passed the U.S. House in June and could pass the Senate in the fall.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer discounts on mortgages that include extra cash for making a home more energy efficient.
These discounts, which are already in effect at some lenders like J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America, include savings on closing costs for homes that have Energy Star appliances.
The Federal Housing Administration is offering a plan through its approved lenders that allows borrowers to add the cost of making efficiency improvements into the mortgage, but the extra money doesn’t count toward determining how much loan a borrower can qualify for. For instance, a borrower who adds $5,000 to a $100,000 loan to afford new Energy Star appliances would only have to qualify for $100,000 – not $105,000.
Source: The Wall Street Journal (08/24/2009)