WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans will soon be able to buy a home with a down payment as low as 3 percent, the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac say.

The new lending guidelines being announced by the companies are designed to help more low-income and first-time buyers afford homes. Millions of Americans lost their savings or no longer had the income needed to set aside money for a home in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession.

The guidelines are designed to prevent the kind of reckless lending that fueled a housing bubble and eventually triggered the recession. Borrowers must have enough income to repay loans on a monthly basis for homes that would be their main residence. This guideline would be intended to limit financial speculation.