Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off National Homeownership Month by highlighting USDA’s ongoing role to help residents of America’s small towns and cities purchase homes in rural areas.
“Owning a home is one of the best ways American families enter the middle class,” Vilsack said. Throughout June, USDA employees will celebrate National Homeownership Month with events across the Nation that demonstrate USDA’s commitment to provide access to affordable housing for low-and moderate-income rural residents. The theme for this year’s events is: Let’s Build A Better Future Together.
USDA Rural Development has been very successful in helping rural Nebraska residents to live the American dream of homeownership. Since 2009, Rural Development in Nebraska has assisted more than 7,400 families in becoming homeowners and has provided more than $682 million of home loans in the state. For Fiscal Year 2015, USDA Rural Development in Nebraska received an allocation of almost $120.5 million for financing home loan purchases in rural communities. Funding for the Guarantee program is “budget neutral,” meaning it does not rely on tax payer dollars.
Through the USDA housing programs, 100% financing is available for home purchases at affordable rates and terms. With the Guaranteed Rural Housing (GRH) loan program, clients work with traditional mortgage lenders who are approved for participation in the GRH program. Interest rates have typically been less than 4.5%.
For the Direct loan program, applicants can pre-qualify with USDA Rural Development offices. Rural Development offers a fixed 3.125% interest rate for 33 years, but additional subsidy may be available to as low as 1% for eligible applicants. Eligibility is based on income, acceptable credit and repayment ability. Homes must be located in rural areas. All communities in Nebraska are eligible for housing programs with the exceptions of Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, Omaha and South Sioux City/Dakota City. See http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do for eligible areas.
“Home ownership should be an achievable dream and in many cases, USDA housing programs provide the only way for rural residents to buy a home,” said Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development. “Working with our partners in the lending community and with state and local housing authorities, we are continuing to make safe, affordable housing available to credit-worthy applicants across the state.”
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.