Real Estate & Finance News
State's housing finance group makes two updates for consumers
The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) recently released two significant updates.
First, the agency will receive nearly $3.2 million to provide counseling to homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure from a new federal grant; and second, CalHFA updated income limits for new and existing homes for first-time homebuyers.
While this State agency cannot offer a cure-all for the real estate market, these two announcements are related in that they offer positive, third-party information for consumers regarding mortgages in our state.
Through CalHFA, foreclosure counseling will be available to homeowners who have either defaulted on their mortgages or are in danger of defaulting on their mortgages. Homeowners in those situations can arrange counseling by contacting one of the counseling agencies in their area.
"CalHFA remains focused on supporting California families who are struggling to hold on to their homes,” said Claudia Cappio, executive director of CalHFA. “In partnership with community organizations, we have assisted more than 61,000 families so far and we appreciate the opportunity to continue this critical counseling program.”
The counseling program is one part of CalHFA’s effort to assist homeown- ers. The program, called Keep Your Home California, provides direct assis- tance to homeowners trying to remain in their homes. For more information on Keep Your Home California, visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org.
Regarding the income limit revision for first-time homebuyers, let’s begin by clearing up a common confusion regarding mortgage lingo: “First-Time Homebuyer” is a technical term for any person who has not owned a primary residence in the last three years. Here is a selected list of the latest income limits.
CalHFA Updates Income Limits, June 2011
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
$ 102,480 (1-2 persons)
$ 119,560 (3 or more persons)
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
$ 93,240 (1-2)
$ 108,780 (3 or more)
Many people of all ages, including Veterans, qualify for CalHFA loans – CalHFAis not solely reserved for young people.
The CalHFA mortgage is offered in partnership with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The loan provides low- and moderate-income, first-time homebuyers with below-market interest rates and affordable down payment options for their home mortgage, among other benefits. Veterans also are eligible for CalHFA financing, under the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act. Through CalHFA’s down pay- ment program (called California Homebuyer’s Downpayment Assistance Program), borrowers may qualify for up to three percent (3%) of the purchase price of the home for down payment or closing cost assistance.
CalHFA was established in 1975, and is funded through the sale of tax-exempt bonds. Bonds are not paid by taxpayer dollars; rather, revenues generated through mortgage loans pay them.
TO QUALIFY, BORROWERS MUST QUALIFY ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES:
Income limits - these vary by county and family size. Please see samples above.
• Loan limits and sales price limits – FHA mortgage loans limits are generally $417,000; sales price limits vary by county.
• Minimum credit score requirement of 620.
• All borrowers must complete a homebuyer education program through a HUD-approved agency.
For more information on CalHFA, visit www.calhfa.ca.gov or call toll free (877) 9-CalHFA (877-922-5432).