AGRICULTURE SECRETARY ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF REFINANCING PROGRAM TO HELP MORE RURAL HOMEOWNERS
Residents in 15 Additional States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Join Pilot Program
Salt Lake City, UT, January 31, 2013 – Rural homeowners in Utah who have a mortgage held or guaranteed by USDA Rural Development now have access to a new Rural Refinance Pilot Program, a mortgage streamline program announced today.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is adding 15 more states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to a pilot program that enables current USDA borrowers to save money on housing costs by refinancing their mortgages with lower interest rates. USDA unveiled the initiative almost one year ago. It initially included borrowers in 19 states hardest hit by the downturn in the housing market. To date, 3,394 rural borrowers have benefited from the USDA refinancing pilot program. These loans total nearly $453 million.
Utah USDA Housing Director Janice Kocher expresses her hope that Utah homeowners will take advantage of this new program. “The Rural Refinance Program has expanded and is now available to both Guaranteed and Direct USDA housing borrowers in Utah. The Rural Refinance Pilot is designed to assist existing borrowers to refinance their homes with greater speed and ease. I am excited about this opportunity and hope many rural homeowners will take advantage of record low interest rates,” she said.
Participants in the pilot refinancing program are required to meet income eligibility requirements, and must have made their mortgage payments on time for 12 consecutive months. Borrowers participating in USDA’s Single Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed loan programs are eligible to participate. Borrowers do not have to obtain new credit reports, property inspections or home appraisals. Refinanced loans must be at least one percent below the original interest rate. Terms cannot exceed 30 years. No cash out is permitted to the borrower.
With today’s announcement, the pilot is being expanded to include residents in the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. These states are being added because they have been identified as having a very high proportion of persistent poor counties, that is, those with a poverty rate of at least 20 percent in each of the last four U.S. Censuses. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has been included due to a poverty rate of at least 45 percent in recent years, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report.