$1,000 Down Payment, Courtesy of the U.S. Government

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Government offering $1,000 downpayment on home purchaseIt looks, smells and feels like the bad old days when people could buy homes with no income, no job and no money down. Indeed it is (sort of) like the old days, at least in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Idaho. The big difference? This time it's not sleazy subprime lenders offering mortgages for just $1,000 down and no mortgage insurance -- it's the National Council of State Housing Agencies, partnering with Fannie Mae on an experimental program. The program, called Affordable Advantage, offers 100 percent financing to qualified first-time homebuyers. The key word there is "qualified." Buyers must have credit scores of at least 680 to qualify, and the state agencies are checking credit histories and talking with borrowers' employers. Only a few hundred people have benefited so far. And since the program is backed by taxpayers, it already has plenty of vocal critics. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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