June 30, 2011
Gordon Anderson (512) 475-4743
State housing agency’s innovative pilot homebuyer program offers up to $20,000 in down payment assistance
federal funds available directly to borrower
(AUSTIN) — Del Valle resident Leticia Leal in May helped make state housing history when she became the first homebuyer assisted through an innovative pilot program offered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). The new program provides up to $20,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance in conjunction with a mortgage loan originated through a conventional lender.
Leal, a medical assistant with an Austin-area family practice, was the first participant in the Department’s pioneering HOMEbuyer Assistance Program, a new initiative from TDHCA providing homebuyer assistance to qualifying borrowers in the six-county area of Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties, excluding the City of Austin.
“My new home is better than I imagined. It’s a great home!” exclaimed Leal. “It’s more than what I expected to get into, especially for being a first time homebuyer. It’s one of the best things that have ever happened to me. I never thought someone would help me buy a house like this. That HOME grant especially helped; no closing costs, all the warranties, it’s a new home in a good community. I’m very thankful.”
The HOMEbuyer Assistance Program is administered through TDHCA’s HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
According to TDHCA Acting Executive Director Timothy Irvine, the pilot program is unique because the funds are offered directly to consumers in conjunction with private lenders.
“All other TDHCA HOME Program funds are awarded to third-party agencies, typically local governments and nonprofit organizations, which then work directly with prospective homebuyers in their community,” Irvine explained. “However, these agencies must first apply to the Department to receive the funds.
“We are testing this groundbreaking approach through private lenders in the Austin area, where we can more easily oversee the program on a trial basis, to increase assistance to communities where there are no eligible entities interested in administering the funds,” he continued. “If this pilot program proves successful, and we have great expectations that it will, TDHCA could expand the program to other areas of the state in the future.”
Applications for assistance under the HOMEbuyer Assistance Program must be submitted by a first lien mortgage lender, and the loan must be a conventional, VA, USDA, of FHA mortgage.
Borrowers must earn no more than 80 percent of the area median family income and attend a homebuyer education class to qualify.
As Texas’ lead agency for promoting homeownership, TDHCA helps transform the lives of the individuals who participate in its programs. TDHCA’s homebuyer programs over have helped tens of thousands of low to moderate income Texans achieve their homeownership goals, while educating them about the risks and responsibilities that accompany those rewards.
The Department last year helped more than 2,300 Texas households purchase a home of their own through a mix of programs that provide direct state or federal assistance, tax credits, and proceeds from the sale of mortgage revenue bonds.
Many of these programs work through rural cities, counties, public housing authorities and nonprofit organizations; others work through a network of private lenders who originate mortgage and down payment assistance loan in partnership with TDHCA.
For more information on TDHCA’s many homebuyer assistance programs and eligibility requirements, please visit the Department’s Web site at www.tdhca.state.tx.us or call 1-800-525-0657.
About the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is committed to expanding fair housing choice and opportunities for Texans through the administration and funding of affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services with the help of for-profits, nonprofits, and local governments. For more information about fair housing, funding opportunities, or services in your area, please visit www.tdhca.state.tx.us or the Learn about Fair Housing in Texas page.
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