More history. A HUD press release from January 2004. Don’t miss the second paragraph of the first sentence:
BUSH ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NEW HUD "ZERO DOWN PAYMENT" MORTGAGE
Initiative Aimed at Removing Major Barrier to Homeownership
LAS VEGAS – As part of President Bush’s ongoing effort to help American families
achieve the dream of homeownership, Federal Housing Commissioner John C. Weicher
today announced that HUD is proposing to offer a "zero down payment"
mortgage, the most significant initiative by the Federal Housing Administration
in over a decade. This action would help remove the greatest barrier facing
first-time homebuyers – the lack of funds for a down payment on a mortgage.
Speaking at the National Association of Home Builders’ annual convention,
Commissioner Weicher indicated that the proposal, part of HUD’s Fiscal Year
2005 budget request, would eliminate the statutory requirement of a minimum
three percent down payment for FHA-insured single-family mortgages for first-time
"Offering FHA mortgages with no down payment will unlock the door to homeownership
for hundreds of thousands of American families, particularly minorities,"
said HUD’s Acting Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "President Bush has pledged
to create 5.5 million new minority homeowners this decade, and this historic
initiative will help meet this goal."
Preliminary projections indicate that the new FHA mortgage product would generate
about 150,000 homebuyers in the first year alone.
"This initiative would not only address a major hurdle to homeownership
and allow many renters to afford their own home, it would help these families
build wealth and become true stakeholders in their communities," said Commissioner
Weicher. "In addition, it would help spur the production of new housing
in this country."
For those that choose to participate in the Zero Down Payment program, HUD
would charge a modestly higher insurance premium, which would be phased down
over several years, and would also require families to undergo pre-purchase
HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly
among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans;
and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living
with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD
and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov 
and espanol.hud.gov .