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HomeAt Home & BeyondNew programs helps 'heroes' buy first homes

New programs helps ‘heroes’ buy first homes

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Teachers, healthcare professionals and law enforcement personnel are among 50 professions to get help purchasing their first homes under a new program announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The program is also intended to help active and retired military veterans enter the housing market for the first time.

Administered by the Florida Housing and Finance Corp. (Florida Housing), the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program will use $100 million derived from the state budget to expand the state’s existing housing programs to reach critical workers and military veterans. Income-qualified first time homebuyers can receive down payment and closing cost assistance on primary residences in their hometowns.

To qualify for this program, homebuyers must connect with a participating loan officer, have a minimum credit score of 640, provide certification for one of the eligible occupations, and meet the income threshold for their county. Eligible borrowers will receive up to 5 percent of the first mortgage loan amount up to a maximum of $25,000, in down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a 0 percent non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage.

Marilyn Pearson-Adams, broker/owner of Century 21 Alliance Realty in Spring Hill said that while it is too soon to know how many Hernando County residents will be helped by the program, it will provide significant assistance as the housing market changes here.

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“With the escalation of home prices, together with the rise of interest rates, this program will help in providing the down payment assistance and/or closing costs needed by buyers in order to enter the housing market,” she said.

Pearson-Adams said that according to Hernando County MLS figures from June 1 through December 31, 2021, 810 received conventional loans to purchase homes while 227 received Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans and 137 were Veterans Administration (VA) loan buyers.

In Hernando County the 2022 Hometown Heroes U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA ) and FHA loan limit is $420,680 and the conventional and VA loan limit is $647,200. The 2022 Hometown Heroes income limit for Hernando County is $123,500.

According to Pearson-Adams, homeownership options are key to stability in Florida’s communities including those in Hernando County.

“Providing ways to help the American Dream of homeownership become a reality for those vital to the health and safety of our society is important to the stability, or health and safety you might say, of our communities as a whole,” she said.

Funds for the 2022 Hometown Heroes become available on June 1.

Visit www.floridahousing.org/hometownheroes for more information.

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