Southern California program to provide financing for qualified first-time homebuyers

About $60 million in loans will be made available annually to first-time homebuyers in Los Angeles and Orange counties under a bond program authorized today.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized the Southern California Home Financing Authority to issue $200 million in revenue bonds over the next three years to provide financing for the authority's first-time homebuyers program.

The program, which will provide buyers who qualify below market, fixed-rate loans, has been in place since 1982 and has issued more than $1.1 billion in bonds and provided financing for more than 7,500 homes.

Based on a recent bond issue, its first since 2007, the housing authority is working with 12 lenders with more than 70 branches, said Gregg Kawczynski, a manager at the county's Community Development Commission.

The authority was able to go back to the market because of a federal program backing the bonds.

Though more than half of such loans have typically been made to residents earning less than 80 percent of the statewide median income, buyers who earn as much as $84,480 in Los Angeles County and up to $103,320 in Orange County are eligible for the loan program.

Borrowers who qualify can also receive assistance with their purchase, including the cash equivalent to three percent of the loan to cover a portion of the down payment and closing costs.

Homes in all unincorporated areas and cities other than Los Angeles in Los Angeles County and all of Orange County are eligible for mortgages under the program. Purchase prices of up to $708,495 may qualify.

Rates on the 30-year fixed rate loans without down payment assistance are currently 4.7 percent and with assistance, 5.125 percent.

Kawczynski estimated that the two counties together would originate about $60 million in new mortgages each year, though future totals depend on the strength of the overall mortgage market. Based on average loan size, that would amount to about 200 loans annually.

The board's 3-0 vote in support today gives the group the flexibility to finance new loans as market conditions allow.

More information on the program is available by calling (323) 890-7249 or online at www.lacdc.org/CDCWebsite/HDP.

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