Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) announced today that it has lowered the interest rate for its Residential Loan Program to a record low fixed rate of 4.95 percent. "Our record low rate is intended to put home ownership within reach of as many of Oregon's first-time home buyers as possible," said Bob Repine, OHCS director. "I hope first-time home buyers take full advantage of the exceptional low interest rates currently being provided so they can buy a home of their own."
OHCS's Residential Loan Program, also known as the "Oregon State Bond Loan," is designed to help eligible home buyers throughout Oregon increase their purchasing power by offering below-market interest rates when financing their first home. In part, the below-market rates offered by the program help counter the high cost of buying a first home in Oregon. In partnership with participating lenders, OHCS strives to offer low and moderate-income households attractive interest rates, usually 0.75 to one percent below the market rate for a similar loan. The below-market rates are made possible through the sale of tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds periodically issued by the Department. While OHCS offers first-time home buyers access to the program funds, the interest rate is adjusted periodically to ensure year-round access to the funds.
Not only are rates at a record low for the "Oregon State Bond Loan," but according to the weekly Freddie Mac Mortgage survey, the average 30 year fixed conventional loan rate is hovering right around 6 percent. Last week (11/14/02), it hit a record low of 5.94 percent with an average loan fee of 0.6 percent (www.freddiemac.com). "Rates have never been this good and who knows how long they will last? First-time home buyers should run, not walk, to their nearest participating lenders to get in on the action," said Jon Gail, home ownership program manager for OHCS.
To be eligible for the Residential Loan Program, a household's total annual income must not exceed $48,900 statewide. To receive a program brochure and a list of participating lenders, please call the OHCS loan hotline at (503)986-2015 or visit our Web site at www.hcs.state.or.us.
In addition to offering below-market rate first mortgage financing, OHCS also sponsors a down payment and closing cost assistance program called the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP).
In partnership with the Oregon Bankers Association (OBA) and the Oregon Mortgage Lenders Association (OMLA), HPAP is designed to help low-income families buy their first home by reducing the amount of cash required to close a home loan. Saving the necessary cash to close on a first home is still a major barrier for many first-time home buyers. HPAP allows home buyers to overcome this common barrier by providing eligible households a $1,500 second mortgage loan with some of the best terms available. It does not require any monthly payments to be made (except in the case of default), nor does the loan accrue interest. It is a "silent second" mortgage which must be repaid to OHCS when the borrower sells, transfers or refinances the property.
For more information about the program, interested home buyers should contact either the OBA at (503) 581-3522 or the OMLA at (503)223-6622. The HPAP assistance may be used in conjunction with an "Oregon State Bond Loan."