WASHINGTON — State and local housing finance agency officials could barely contain their excitement at the Obama administration’s unveiling yesterday of its long-awaited bond purchase and liquidity program.
“This announcement is huge!” said Roy Alexander, executive director of the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
More soberly, he noted that the programs would allow the CHFA to use Colorado’s bond capacity under the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act to create a mortgage refinance program “for borrowers who are having trouble with their current mortgages and also to finance rental developments serving low-income families, both of which will contribute to Colorado’s ongoing economic recovery.”
Colorado was allocated $152 million of housing bond capacity under HERA. The CHFA was awarded $142 million of that.
Steve Spears, acting executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency, said the administration’s proposal “will help revive CalHFA lending programs and give California first-time homebuyers a chance to take advantage of the highest affordability levels that have been seen in almost two decades.”
Ted Fellman, executive director of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, said there are still a number of potential first-time homebuyers in his state and the administration’s plan will help get them into the market, jump starting Tennessee’s housing sector.
“Even with conventional rates as low as they have been, it’s still not enough for many working families to achieve sustainable homeownership,” Fellman said. “This will go a long way towards changing that.”
Meanwhile, Antonio Riley, executive director of Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, said he is encouraged by the news. Prior to last year when WHEDA suspended lending, it was providing as much as $10 million in loans each week to first-time buyers — “homebuyers who were well-prepared, well-educated and who are getting a low-interest fixed rate.”
“In working with WHEDA, many homeowners had access to thousands of dollars of down payment grants and loans,” Riley said, also noting that authority’s foreclosure rate is less than 1%.