Thursday, February 02, 2012

USDA starts mortgage refinancing program, enterprise grant program for rural areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is launching a pilot program to help rural homeowners refinance mortgages to lower monthly payments as part of its "ongoing efforts to help middle-class families, create jobs and strengthen the economy," a USDA press release said. The Single Family Housing Guaranteed Rural Refinance program will operate in 19 states hit hardest by the housing market downturn, and where homeowners have loans that were made or guaranteed by USDA Rural Development.

To be eligible, borrowers must have made mortgage payments on time for 12 consecutive months and the refinanced rates must be lower than original rates. Rural Development expects about 235,000 people will be eligible for the program, which will be reviewed after two years to determine its future. The 19 states are: 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.

Rural Development is also accepting applications for rural enterprise grants. Funding is available to public bodies, nonprofits and Indian tribes. "The goal is to facilitate and finance the development of small and emerging private business enterprises in rural communities and cities with up to 50,000 in population," reports Megan Kamerick of New Mexico Business Weekly. Priority will be given to requests of $50,000 or less and for projects that support renewable energy, local food systems, multi-county or mulit-state economic and community development, cooperatives, business programs in counties with persistent poverty and underserved populations, including minority and women-owned businesses. (Read more)


Sara said...

It is an excellent effort on the part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to come up with a program which will help homeowners to refinance their rural mortgages. Now it will be great if all the major lenders participate in this program and assist the homeowners to refinance their existing home loans. Unless the mortgage lenders participate in this program, it won’t be successful.

RonaldEaddy said...

I had a similar experience as Rik, comps are the number one thing they use. If you have a unique property, or sales volume in your area is low, chances are your appraisal will come out much lower than your house might actually sell for. Its a vicious cycle now, in the opposite direction of before the crash. Appraisers are much tougher on values now, thus more people cannot qualify for refi, thus more foreclosures, thus lower home values, ect. In my personal opinion, appraisals are almost completely useless. While going for my refi recently, I had two appraisals done which differed from each other by 20%. That experience demonstrated to me how subjective the process is. Banks need to find a better way of doing this, and if the government is interested in kick starting the housing recovery, they need to open up no-appraisal, existing balance refinances to everyone, not just a strict subset of loans.