President Bush today signed the massive housing bill intended to provide mortgage relief for 400,000 struggling homeowners and stabilize financial markets. The measure, signed without the ususal fanfare, is one he earlier threatened to veto. Regarded as the most significant housing legislation in decades, it lets homeowners who cannot afford their payments refinance into more affordable government-backed loans rather than lose their homes.
It offers a temporary financial lifeline to troubled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and tightens controls over the two government-sponsored businesses. It also tightens mortgage regulations, requiring lenders to show how high a borrower's payment could get under the terms of his mortgage.