In an effort to encourage first-time homebuyers, President Obama announced on January 7th that the Federal Housing Administration will reduce annual mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5% from 1.35% to 0.85%.  Under the announced plan, FHA will retain underwriting standards that were put in place following the economic downturn.  The White House estimates that this reduction means new home buyers would pay $900 less a year than they would without a change in the premiums.  Additionally, current homeowners who refinance into an FHA mortgage would also benefit from the change.