News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2007
Contact:
Gordon Anderson - (512) 475-4743
Jill McFarren - (512) 475-2844

Senator Zaffirini, state housing agency announce release of $97 million in homebuyer funds

TDHCA to offer low interest mortgage loans beginning at 5.25 percent, waives first time homebuyer requirement for Texas veterans

(LAREDO) -- State Senator Judith Zaffirini today joined the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) in announcing the release of $97 million in homebuyer funds dedicated to making Texans' dreams of homeownership come true. TDHCA is making these funds available through the Department's Texas First Time Homebuyer Program in the form of low interest rate loans beginning as low as 5.25 percent.

"These essential homebuyer funds provide rare and valuable opportunities for persons in Laredo who dream of owning a home but thought that it was beyond reach," Senator Zaffirini said. "Most of us consider homeownership to be a primary means of accumulating wealth. What's more, homeownership is the intangible force that binds neighbors and communities together. TDHCA and Texas are committed to helping many low to moderate income Texans purchase homes, and these funds will help us achieve this goal."

"This $97 million in homebuyer funds will have a tremendous and positive impact on Texas residents, and certainly those living right here in Laredo," said Michael Gerber, TDHCA Executive Director. "We feel we are, quite literally, putting a down payment on a brighter future for Laredo and Webb County with this funding release. However, I encourage interested individuals to not wait too long to contact TDHCA or a participating lender. This is an extraordinary opportunity for low to moderate income Texans to buy a home with affordable monthly payments, and the funds will not last."

Gerber added that, in a first for the program, the first time homebuyer requirement will be waived for Texas veterans. "We are particularly proud of our ability to reach these American heroes and help them secure a home of their own," he said. Under this waiver, Gerber explained, any vet who can provide proper discharge papers and who has not previously participated in this loan program can be a current homeowner and still participate in this program.

The state-sponsored First Time Homebuyer program offers qualifying households the ability to purchase a home at rates typically unmatched anywhere in the state, bringing homeownership within reach for many Texas families. On hand for the announcement were new homeowners Rolando and Sonya Palacios. Officials recognized Rolando and Sonya with a symbolic keychain for the key to their new home, which they recently purchased through the Texas First Time Homebuyer Program.

Approximately 50 lenders with more than 500 branch offices throughout the state offer the below-market interest rate loans. Interested homebuyers may visit the program's website at www.myfirsttexashome.com or call (800) 792-1119 to learn more about eligibility requirements, program details, or to find a participating lender.

Gerber explained that loans through this program will be available in two forms: unassisted loans, with no additional funds for down payment and closing costs, and assisted loans which come with down payment and closing cost assistance. Interest rates will range from 5.25 percent for statewide unassisted loans to 5.99 percent for assisted loans statewide.

TDHCA is reserving $15 million of these funds for a 22-county region of southeast Texas impacted by Hurricane Rita officially designated by Congress as the Hurricane Rita Gulf Opportunity ("GO") Zone. Loans made inside the Rita GO Zone will be offered at the 5.99 percent rate and all with come with the 5 percent grant for down payment assistance.

As Texas' lead agency for promoting homeownership, TDHCA focuses on the act of buying a home and helping transform the lives of the individuals who participate in its programs. TDHCA's homebuyer programs each year help thousands of low- to moderate-income Texans achieve their homeownership goals, while educating them about the risks and responsibilities that accompany those rewards.

To facilitate this aspect of TDHCA's mission, the Department sponsors the Texas Statewide Homebuyer Education Program (TSHEP), a statewide program offered by local governments and nonprofit organizations in all 254 Texas counties. The program is designed to provide information and counseling to prospective homebuyers about the home buying process.

To find the nearest TSHEP homebuyer education provider, please visit the Department's homebuyer assistance information page at www.tdhca.state.tx.us/assist_homebuying.htm and simply key in the name of your city. Interested individuals may also call (512) 475-3975 for more information.

Photos from the news conference are available online at http://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/ppa/media/.

About The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is Texas' lead agency responsible for affordable housing, community and energy assistance programs, and colonia activities. The Department annually administers funds in excess of $400 million, the majority of which is derived from mortgage revenue bond financing and refinancing, federal grants, and federal tax credits.

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