In today’s housing market downturn, New Jersey and Arizona are fortunate to have been selected as two of the 19 states to participate in the USDA Guaranteed Single Family Housing Refinance Pilot Program. In New Jersey, many homeowners are struggling to make ends meet especially with high interest mortgage rates. This program, when implemented, can benefit as many as 3000 rural homeowners in the “Garden State.” A healthy and strong housing market is vital to sustaining New Jersey’s current economic recovery.
USDA Housing Administrator Tammye Treviño was in New Jersey earlier this month to facilitate a roundtable meeting on the rural refinance pilot program. Joining Administrator Treviño in these discussions were lenders, credit & housing counselors, Congressional staff, and Rural Development representatives.
This program can provide assistance to thousands of borrowers, including those in Arizona. For example, Mark Daniels remembers listening to President Obama’s State of the Union address and being intrigued by the President’s idea to offer re-financing help for homeowners who were upside down on their home mortgages. Daniels is a loan officer in the small town of Payson, Arizona.
Daniels attended a Guaranteed Lender training session in Phoenix put on by USDA Rural Development. During the training, Rural Development Arizona State Director Alan Stephens addressed the trainees to announce USDA’s new re-finance program. Daniels was elated! “This program is perfect for my community where we have mostly mature borrowers. They tend to be more diligent in making their payments,” he said. He also was happy that it’s a tweak to an existing program, rather than rolling out a whole new one. “Lenders already know the USDA product, so this allows us to get right down to helping our clients refinance,” he added.
“This re-fi program could be a real boon for responsible rural borrowers,” said Stephens. “Best of all, this pilot program will not cost taxpayers any additional money.”
To be eligible under this pilot, borrowers must have a current USDA home loan and made their mortgage payments on time for 12 consecutive months. They do not have to obtain new credit reports, property inspections or home appraisals. Refinanced loans must be at rates below the original interest rate. Terms cannot exceed 30 years. No cash out is permitted to the borrower. This program will help boost the economy in many rural areas throughout Arizona, New Jersey and other eligible states. All the New Jersey participants were grateful for the opportunity to meet with Administrator Treviño and all expressed positive comments about the outcome.
The two-year pilot is open to homeowners in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.
To find out more, contact any USDA Rural Development office.