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New down payment assistance mortgages from Utah Housing Corporation are fueling sales of low to moderate priced housing. Some 1,619 Utahns have obtained Utah Housing Corporation mortgages so far this year, at a pace that is almost double the volume at this time a year ago.
With Labor Day just around the corner, the increased sales are a great harbinger, not just for home-buyers but for Utah workers. Home sales spur economic growth through employment of workers for construction and remodeling, as well as large purchases such as appliances and furniture. Housing sales and services represent 17 to 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Utah Housing has a unique niche in the Utah market place, providing down payment assistance mortgages to make housing affordable for low-to-moderate income buyers. In the past, Utah Housing served only first time buyers. Beginning last April, down payment assistance mortgages are available to buyers who have owned homes before. A credit score of 620 or higher can qualify someone to buy.
"I could not be happier," said Brian Haslam, a new homeowner in Magna. "I never thought we would be able to buy a house. Now I have a corner lot with a fenced yard for my kids. We have five bedrooms and three baths. My wife and I are thrilled. Whoever is out there looking for a house, do not give up. A Utah Housing loan worked for me and it could work for a lot of other people too."
Before the new loans were launched, about 150 buyers took out Utah Housing loans every month, now the volume is more than 200 buyers a month.
The new loans open up the market to many Utahns who were shut out during the Great Recession. Many low-to-moderate income buyers were unable to generate any equity from owning a home during the housing downturn. Many people starting their careers got off to a slower start establishing good credit. Others had credit problems from losing jobs or changing family circumstances.
"Offering mortgages to previous home buyers dramatically improves our service to Utahns who need help buying a home," said Grant Whitaker, president and CEO of Utah Housing. "We are constantly looking for ways to better Implement our core mission."
The loan approval process is thorough and loans are serviced locally by Utah Housing throughout the life of the loan. Borrowers can communicate directly with local customer service agents. The result is low default rates compared to state and national averages.
To find out more about Utah Housing down payment assistance mortgages, call 801-208-7908 or go to www.housingutah.org.