WASHINGTON - The FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is in the strongest financial condition since it was created in 1934, according to Deloitte & Touche.

The accounting firm said the fund has a record economic value of $17 billion and is projected to grow to $43.5 billion by 2007. Economic value is defined as the sum of existing capital plus the value of current insurance in force.

Last October, Andrew Cuomo, the outgoing secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced the FHA Homebuyer Savings Plan, which reduces up-front premiums by one-third, eliminates annual premiums after a homeowner has 22% equity, and pays premium refunds to current FHA borrowers. The combined changes will save a typical consumer about $4,500 over the life of a $100,000 low down-payment loan, HUD said.

Deloitte said that the fund can withstand economic downturns. Its value would more than double over the next six years even if disastrous economic scenarios came to pass, Deloitte said.

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