Sussex County to host mortgage assistance seminar for homebuyers, builders

by Dave on June 17, 2010

Even in these tough economic times, homeownership is still possible. You just have to know where to look for the keys that open the door to the American dream.

Sussex County will host a special mortgage assistance seminar to give buyers and builders answers on home ownership, from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, 2010, in the Council chambers at the County Administrative Offices building, 2 The Circle, in Georgetown.

At that meeting, representatives from the County’s Community Development & Housing Office and the Delaware State Housing Authority will be on hand to talk about a number of lending assistance programs available for homebuyers. The session is free, with the target audience being builders, lenders, real estate agents and prospective first-time homebuyers.

County officials are hopeful that by spreading the word of lesser known or underutilized assistance programs, added home sales will re-invigorate the local housing market and strengthen the county’s economy, which has suffered during the recent economic downturn.

“We all know homeownership is the peak of the American dream, but some of those dreams might be going unrealized because people have doubts about whether they can afford a home or how to do it,” County Administrator David B. Baker said. “What we hope to do with this meeting is to say, ‘Yes, you can do it, and these are the programs that can help you.’ ”

One of the programs to be highlighted during the seminar is the Delaware Single Family Mortgage Revenue Bond Program, also known as the First-Time Home Buyers Program. It provides mortgage financing at below-market interest rates to low- and moderate-income buyers who are new to home ownership or who haven’t owned a home in at least three years.

Under the program, interest rates for qualified buyers are as low as a fixed 4.75 percent with zero points for a 30-year mortgage on an existing home. For newly constructed or to-be-built homes, the rate dips to a fixed 4.25 percent with zero points for a 30-year mortgage. Borrowers can also use this program in conjunction with the housing authority’s down payment and settlement assistance up to $10,000.

The program has been offered statewide since 1979, but has historically low usage among Sussex County buyers. Of the 490 participants who made use of the program in 2009, only 29, or 6 percent, were for homes in Sussex County.

“We want to change that, and we believe by putting together buyers and home builders and lenders all in the same room, we can increase the participation in Sussex County,” Mr. Baker said. “The more people we can educate about these programs means that many more people we can put into homes, more jobs we can help create, and an overall stronger community.”

“We are excited about this opportunity to work with Sussex County and get the word out about DSHA programs,” said housing authority Director Anas Ben Addi. “Many people do not realize that families in Sussex can earn nearly $85,000 and homes can have a purchase price of up to $327,000 and still be eligible for DSHA’s mortgage programs. We want to do everything we can to help Delaware families achieve the American dream of homeownership.”

For more information on the forum, contact the Sussex County Community Development & Housing Office at (302) 855-7777, or go online to www.sussexcountyde.gov/dept/communitydev/.

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