For a limited time, Bank of Utah is offering grants up to $5,000 to help first-time home buyers who qualify to get into a home this year. As of April 2, 2012, $1.5 million in Home$tart funds have been made available to all Federal Home Loan Bank members on a first-come, first-served basis. Bank of Utah is one of a handful of Utah banks to participate in this program, and is encouraging anyone who is contemplating buying a home for the first time to take advantage of this rare opportunity.
In order to qualify, homebuyers must earn at least 20 percent less than the local median income (adjusted for family size). The Home$tart Program matches $3 for every $1 that homebuyers may have saved (up to $5,000) toward a buying a home. Home$tart grants may be used for down payments, closing costs, or rehabilitation of an owner-occupied housing unit, including a condominium or townhome. Applicants must qualify for an FHA loan and intend to live in the home for five years or receive a pro-rated penalty.
“With mortgage interest rates and the price of homes remaining low, it is a great time to buy a home,” said Scott H. Parkinson, Bank of Utah’s senior vice president of marketing and communications. “And, in addition to the Home$tart Program, first-time homebuyers may be able to take advantage of additional programs through the State of Utah.”
According to Amber Wykstra, vice president of mortgage production at Bank of Utah, “Programs offered through Utah Housing Corporation have provided opportunities for first-time buyers to continue to afford a home. This has been critical to our local economy, and buffered our real estate market from dropping as low as others in the nation. Utah Housing has just recently taken another great step toward helping Utah families by opening up programs to all buyers.”
Utah Housing Corporation offers three down payment assistance programs (100 percent financing) for home buyers:
· First Home and First Home Plus, for low and moderate income households which also includes assistance for down payment and closing costs.
· Home Again and Home Again Plus, for low and moderate income households which also includes assistance for down payment and closing costs.
· Score Loan and Score Loan Plus, for low and moderate income households which also includes assistance for down payment and closing costs with credit scores as low as 620.
All programs have requirements for household income, credit score and home purchase price. A person is considered a first-time home buyer if he or she has not owned a primary residence in the last three years. All applicants must qualify for an FHA loan.
“Bank of Utah mortgage loan experts are available along the Wasatch Front to answer questions about which program might work best for the prospective homeowner,” said Wykstra. “There are so many wonderful opportunities available to home shoppers right now.”