Bellone Announces $500K in Down Payment Assistance Funds

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Suffolk County Press Release:

With a goal to help make the “American Dream” of homeownership a reality for more Suffolk families, County Executive Steve Bellone announced a program to assist first time homebuyers with down payment funds.

“Having access to homeownership can be critical to the long-term stability of families and helps strengthen communities,” said Bellone.  “Yet, for many first time homebuyers, coming up with down payment funds is an insurmountable obstacle that can deny them the chance to own a home.  This program helps address that issue.”  A contribution of $14,000 in grant funds is available to those who qualify.

Applications are now being accepted through October 31, 2013.  Bellone stressed that qualified Suffolk County residents must purchase a home within the consortium area and close on their purchase by April 30, 2014 however, if the purchase is for new construction the applicant will have until December 15, 2014 to close on the property.  The consortium includes all of Suffolk County, excluding the Towns of Babylon and Islip.

The Suffolk County HOME Consortium down payment assistance funds are essentially a zero-interest deferred loan. The grant assistance will be in the amount of $14,000 granted to eligible applicants to assist with the down payment toward the purchase of an owner occupied, single family residence. The applicant will be required to sign a Note & Mortgage which is subordinate to the bank or lending institution that will be providing the primary mortgage.

According to Bellone, applications will be accepted by mail only, and can be requested from the Community Development Office at (631) 853–5705 or can be downloaded from the Suffolk County Web site.

Comprehensive details of the eligibility criteria, income guidelines, and other elements of the program are available on the County Web site.   Key elements include:

Eligibility Criteria

•        An applicant must be a first-time homebuyer is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a household that has not owned a home during the three-year period immediately prior to the purchase of a residence with HOME funding.

•        Prospective applicants must represent a low to moderate income household with an annual income not exceeding 80% of the area median income as determined by HUD, which includes an adjustment for family size; must have at least $3,000 banked at the time of application; and have a documented minimum income of at least $30,000 and be able to obtain a mortgage from a qualified lender.

•        The maximum appraised value of a single-family residence to be purchased within the Suffolk County Consortium HOME Selection Area cannot exceed $333,000 for existing housing or $388,000 for new construction.  The following kinds of housing are eligible: single family homes, condominiums, and cooperative apartments (co-ops). Prior to sale, regardless of type of housing, the applicant’s choice for purchase must be owner-occupied, occupied by the purchaser as tenant or vacant.

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