Georgia Community was First in Nation to Offer USDA Rural Housing Loan Guarantees
USDA officials, bankers and rural Georgia residents today celebrated National Homeownership Month and the 25th anniversary of a landmark USDA program that greatly expanded the availability of home loan financing for rural residents.
“Homeownership has improved lives for people in Donalsonville as well as for those in rural areas throughout the state and the rest of the country,” said Vernita Dore, USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary. “Twenty-five years ago, Donalsonville residents became the first in the nation to qualify for home mortgages backed by USDA. Having a home of your own is part of the American dream. I am so happy to know what was once out of reach for millions of rural residents is no longer just a dream.”
USDA launched the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program in 1991 to help expand access to mortgage financing in rural areas. USDA provides loan guarantees to lenders if a borrower defaults. This significantly reduces a lender’s risk and increases the lender’s ability to reach potential homeowners. USDA has field staff throughout the country who complement the work of lenders by servicing residents of the nation’s small communities.
Nearly 1.5 million rural residents have purchased homes with USDA loan guarantees since the program was created. More than 134,000 buyers used the loan guarantees to purchase homes in rural areas in 2015 alone.
In Georgia, where the nation’s first guaranteed loan was finalized, 44,200 residents have bought or refinanced homes through the program. These mortgages total $4.9 billion.
Dore noted that USDA’s homeownership opportunities could not exist without partnerships with lenders, home builders, non-profit groups, realtors, loan packagers and state and local officials.
Joining Dore at the 25th anniversary event here today were Gloria Brewer Floyd, the homeowner of the anniversary house; Dianne Thomas, the Georgia Rural Development specialist who underwrote the loan; and representatives of First State Bank – Donalsonville, formerly First Federal Savings Bank of Southwest Georgia, the original lender.
Dore’s visit is one of many by USDA officials across the country during June to highlight National Homeownership Month and USDA’s contributions to provide affordable rural housing. In addition to mortgage financing, USDA provides grants and loans to help rural homeowners make improvements or repairs, such as removing health and safety hazards or making accessibility modifications for people with disabilities.
If you are interested in buying a home in a rural area, or would like to learn more about USDA’s observance of National Homeownership Month, please visit our Facebook page or contact your nearest USDA Rural Development state office.
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@usdaRD) has helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; invested $11 billion to start or expand 103,000 rural businesses; funded nearly 7,000 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; financed 185,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.