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Friday, September 3, 1999 Published at 01:53 GMT 02:53 UK

World: Americas

Clintons buy New York house

The house is set on a quiet cul-de-sac in an acre of land

US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary have signed a contract to buy a house in a suburb of New York City.

The house, which the Clintons viewed on Saturday, will give Mrs Clinton the New York residence she will need if she decides to run for the United States Senate.

[ image: Pressing the flesh in Seneca Falls]
Pressing the flesh in Seneca Falls
"We appreciate everyone who helped make our search for a new home an enjoyable experience," the Clintons said in a statement issued while holidaying in upstate New York.

The white, three-storey wood frame house in the Westchester County town of Chappaqua was built in 1889 and has five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a swimming pool.

The White House said the US first couple had agreed to pay nearly $1.7m to purchase their new home, and would put down just over 20% of that amount.

[ image: The president takes a break from house-hunting]
The president takes a break from house-hunting
The rest would be raised as a loan, to be guaranteed in part by Democratic Party fundraiser Terry McAuliffe.

His guarantee had been approved by federal ethics overseers, the White House said.

The agreement to buy the house came as the Clintons were coming to the end of a holiday that combined golf and relaxation with fund-raising events.

The first lady has not formally declared her candidacy for the Senate, and the family - who do not own a home - say they plan to move to New York when the president leaves office in 2001.

They head off to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, on Friday.

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