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Thursday, February 6, 2003

New Home Buyers Program Offers Assistance to Low-Moderate Income Families

Low to moderate income families who live or work in Atlantic County may now have an opportunity for home ownership as a result of a new home buyers program announced today by County Executive Dennis Levinson.

The Atlantic County Home Buyers program will provide qualified buyers with up to $10,000 for down payment and closing costs for the purchase of a single family, primary residence whose sale price does not exceed $125,000. Homes may be purchased in all but two of the county's 23 municipalities. Atlantic City already has a program in place for which it receives funds for this purpose thereby excluding it from participation, and the City of Longport is not expected to participate until next year.

The program will be implemented through the Atlantic County Improvement Authority's Office of Community Development which developed the program with guidance from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and input from the local lending community.

"We saw a need for assistance and we responded," stated Levinson. "Many families that can qualify for a mortgage are forced to rent because they are unable to come up with the initial costs required to purchase a home. This program will help eliminate that obstacle and allow them to put their monthly payments towards home ownership."

According to Levinson, the program will provide funds necessary to bridge the gap between the amount of down payment and closing costs required by the FHA 203(b), 203(k) or 234(c) mortgage and the amount the home buyer is able to contribute, the difference not to exceed $10,000. All funds from the program will be non-amortizing deferred payment loans subordinate to the first mortgage of the lender and will be forgiven after six years. Prior to that,
the loans will be due and payable upon the sale, transfer of title or leasing of the property, or any refinancing of the first mortgage.

To qualify for participation in the program, applicants must be 12-month residents of Atlantic County or be employed in the county, and must not have owned a home within the last three years. They must also have an acceptable credit history, the ability to obtain a mortgage, and a household income that is below 80% of the median income level for Atlantic County as determined by HUD. In addition, all applicants must complete a HUD-approved home buyers counseling and education program approved by the Office of Community Development.

For more information, please contact John Lamey, Office of Community Development, at (609) 645-5838.

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