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Well-to-do get mortgage help from Uncle Sam

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Wealthy get mortgage helpSilicon Valley, the birthplace of the microprocessor, the personal computer and the iPhone, is a model of private enterprise at work. But not when it comes to getting a mortgage.

In Santa Clara County, the center of the global tech industry and one of the wealthiest places in the United States, most home buyers get help from the government, an analysis of government lending data shows. The same is true in other wealthy enclaves such as Nassau County, outside New York, and Arlington County, outside Washington, the analysis of more than 50 million loans finds.

It is no secret that the U.S. government propped up the housing market after the financial crisis. What the analysis by Reuters makes clear is the extent to which government programs have helped some of the nation's most well-to-do communities.

Julie Wyss earns $330,000 a year selling real estate in Silicon Valley. When the time came to look for a new home for herself, Wyss settled on a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house in Los Gatos, California, an enclave of young technology entrepreneurs. It has about 2,400 square feet of floor space, four sets of French doors and a price tag of $1.45 million. When she bought the house in June, her main financing was a $625,500 mortgage from Wells Fargo guaranteed by government-backed Fannie Mae.

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