USDA Helps Future Homeowners - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

USDA Helps Future Homeowners

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) – The housing market in South Georgia is the same as it is around most of the country.

It's struggling.

With many banks experiencing tough times, lending is one of the first things that they cut back on. After the housing bubble burst, banks became more stringent in their lending policies.

Godfrey Hinds, the Area Director for Rural Development with the United States Department of Agriculture said, "banks may want 20% down, or 10% down."

So if you're not well off your chances of getting a home are fairly small, unless you come up with fairly big cash first.

It sounds like a Catch-22, the housing market struggles, but banks are not lending money for people to take those homes off of the market. But now the federal government is trying to break the log jam.

For thousands of South Georgians, home ownership may seem like its only a dream, but with this small application, that dream can become a little bit closer to becoming a reality.

As part of the stimulus package, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has given Georgia an extra 30 million dollars to give to low income people in rural areas who are looking to get a home. But while it's mainly about home sales, the program applies to other things as well...

"Purchase and repair an existing home. Or they can purchase a house that newly built, or buy the land and build their own home," said Hinds.

The loans are good for 33 years with a fixed interest rate. While the amounts that those who are eligible will get are not substantial:

Hinds said, "in Mitchell, Dougherty County area it's about $126,000."

The amount of the loan is certainly enough for eligible families to be able to afford a modest home. And the best part?

"It's a no down payment program," said Hinds.

The goal of the program is to get the economy of the area moving again. Already, it's helped families here in South Georgia.

"So far this year, we've spent about $13 million dollars," said Hinds.

To realize the dream of having a decent place to hang their hats.

People in Albany, Thomasville and Valdosta aren't eligible for the loans. But those in the rest of the area may qualify.

If you're interested in the U-S-D-A home loan program you can call their offices in Camilla or Tifton or link to their website.


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