Friday, March 20, 2009

$6,000 State of Utah Grant Money Now Available

Governor signs bill for new homes grant

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. signed a bill yesterday that will provide $6,000 grants to buyers of newly constructed, never-occupied homes. Upon his signature, he immediately directed the Utah Housing Corporation to begin dispersing grants under the “Home Run” program to buyers who finance a recently constructed home with a 30-year (or less) fixed-rate mortgage and meet other qualifications.

Senate Bill 260 created a fund that will use federal stimulus dollars to provide about 1,600 grants to be distributed through Utah Housing Corporation to home buyers on a first-come, first-served basis.

To apply for the grant, home buyers should work through their lender. Any mortgage lender qualified to make mortgage loans under Utah law can assist home buyers to secure the Home Run grant, but Utah Housing has a list of currently approved lenders. Lenders will work directly with Utah Housing Corporation to apply for the grant money. Examples of qualifying mortgages include conventional, FHA, VA, Rural Housing and Utah Housing loans. Cash buyers should work directly with Utah Housing.

Consumers do not have to be first-time buyers to qualify for the program but incomes cannot exceed $75,000 for singles and $150,000 for married couples. Buyers who qualify for both programs can take advantage of the $8,000 federal home-buyer tax credit as well as a Home Run grant.

“It is up to the states to use the federal stimulus money in a way that truly has a beneficial impact on our economy. This is an immediate stimulus targeted at the weakest area of Utah’s economy,” Huntsman said in a press release. “This investment of $10 million will result in 8,800 jobs in the market and $324 million in wages into our economy. This boost is critical for us to reverse our current position.”

To learn more about program details and how buyers can apply, visit www.UtahHousingCorp.org . Also visit www.UtahHousingFacts.com for information about both the Home Run program and the $8,000 federal first-time home buyer tax credit.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Housing Affordability Index at a Record High

The National Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Index has risen 13.6 percentage points to 166.8, a new record high (December 2008: 153.2 to January 2009: 166.8). A value of 100 means that a family with the country’s median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced existing single family home. The higher the index, the more income buyer's are making relative to home prices (and the better housing affordability is for the buyer).

The reading shows that the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income is the most favorable since tracking began in 1970. “History suggests that home sales can rise even in times of job losses when housing affordability rises,” said Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist. (Source: The Enterprise March 16-22, 2009)