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CalHFA and FHA to Offer Low-Interest Mortgages to First-Time Buyers

The ""California Housing Finance Agency"":http://www.calhfa.ca.gov (CalHFA) has partnered with the ""Federal Housing Administration"":http://www.fha.gov (FHA) to offer a fixed rate, 30-year FHA-insured mortgage[IMAGE]

to low- and moderate- income California families who purchase their first home. Benefits include below-market interest rates and affordable down payments.

According to CalHFA's executive director, Steven Spears, many first-time homebuyers cannot meet the loan requirements of conventional lenders.

""This new program will help open the door to first-time homeownership for many California families,"" he said. ""With this program, CalHFA will return to being a signi-

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ficant provider of financing for first-time homebuyers and build on our 35-year track record on behalf of more than 155,000 California families.""

To be qualified as a first-time homebuyer, borrowers must not have owned or occupied a home for the past three years, according to federal law. Borrowers must also meet certain eligibility requirements, including income limits, a mortgage loan limit of $417,000, and a minimum credit score.

CalHFA-FHA's new program includes mortgage insurance, and borrowers are eligible to use the California Homebuyer's Downpayment Assistance Program, which can provide up to 3 percent of the purchase price of the home to help with downpayment or closing costs.

""Housing finance agencies around the country have historically played an important role in each state's housing market,"" Spears said. ""With the disruption in the credit markets over the last two years, we have been limited in our ability to help finance home purchases. This new program offers California families another way to purchase their first home with reliable, fixed rate financing.""

In addition to first-time homebuyers, qualified veterans under the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act are also eligible.

About Author: Heather Cernoch

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