Tag Archives: FirstHome

Housing Agency Wraps Up Record-Breaking Year

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) is wrapping up a record-breaking year. The state agency, known primarily for the affordable financing it offers through its FirstHome™ program, set a production record in 2018 by purchasing 1,798 loans with a total value of more than $300 million.

“If the increased activity is indicative of more young families, both those new to North Dakota and life-long residents, pursuing homeownership, that’s good for all of North Dakota because homeowners are typically more invested in their community than renters,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

NDHFA’s loan production was 134 percent higher in 2018 than the previous year. Activity peaked in May when NDHFA received 246 reservations for $41.5 million in financing. The agency’s staff attributes some of the increased demand to the interest rates it was able to offer this past year.

“A favorable market for the mortgage-revenue bonds that fund our FirstHome program allowed NDHFA to offer financing for most of the year at a rate that was lower than what was available in the conventional marketplace,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA homeownership division director.

“The one-half of one percent or more rate difference results in significant savings on monthly payments.”This past year, two-thirds of FirstHome program users also utilized the down payment and closing cost assistance NDHFA offers. “The assistance allows first-time buyers to enter the market sooner or to retain their savings for household expenses they didn’t have as renters like purchasing a lawn mower or snow blower,” said Flohr.

The purchase price of single-family homes financed through NDHFA’s FirstHome program cannot exceed $271,164 to $303,882, depending on household size and the county in which the property is located. The average FirstHome loan purchased in 2018 was just under $166,000. The program is available to state residents earning up to $98,900 who have not owned a home in the last three years. The average FirstHome borrower’s household income in 2018 was $58,600.

In addition to the FirstHome loans NDHFA purchased, the agency’s production total for the year includes its HomeAccess loans, a program for special needs households who may have previously owned a home, and North Dakota Roots, a program that assists moderate-income buyers who may have previously owned a home and first-time buyers whose income exceeds the FirstHome program limits.

In an average year, NDHFA purchases 1,200 loans. Private-sector lenders originate loans on the agency’s behalf in communities statewide and sell them to NDHFA when the loans close. Currently, 47 financial institutions across the state are partnered with the agency to offer its financing. The greatest overall program use is in Cass and Burleigh/Morton counties.

NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the agency. More information about NDHFA’s homeownership programs is available online at www.ndhfa.org.

FirstHome™ Lender Training Fall Schedule

LenderTrainingLinkImageNorth Dakota Housing Finance Agency will host two FirstHome™ lender training sessions this fall.

“FirstHome lender training is geared to the new staff of our participating lenders, new or pending participating lenders, and current lender staff that want a refresher course,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA homeownership division director.

The training is intended to introduce participating lenders to the Agency’s homeownership programs – FirstHome, HomeAccess and North Dakota Roots, provide a review of different loan types, borrower and property eligibility, and guide lenders through the process of locking a loan with NDHFA.

The training sessions will be held on Oct. 5 at the Expressway Suites, 4303 17th Ave S, Fargo, and Oct. 12 at the Comfort Inn, 1030 E Interstate Ave, Bismarck. Both sessions are scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. and to be completed no later than 1:00 p.m.

There are no registration fees for the lender training, however pre-registration is required. A block of sleeping rooms are reserved at both hotels. If you have questions, contact Dave Flohr or Kim Becker at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

North Dakota Housing Hosts Lender Training

LenderTrainingNorth Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) will host two lender training sessions this fall.

“FirstHome lender training is geared to the new staff of our participating lenders, new or pending participating lenders, and current lender staff that wants a refresher course,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA homeownership division director.

The training is intended to introduce lenders to the Agency’s homeownership programs – FirstHome, HomeAccess and North Dakota Roots, provide a review of different loan types, borrower and property eligibility, and guide lenders through the process of locking a loan with NDHFA.

The training sessions will be held on Oct. 7 at the Comfort Inn, 1030 E Interstate Ave, Bismarck, and on Nov. 12 at the Expressway Suites, 4202 17th Ave S, Fargo. Both sessions are scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. and to be completed no later than 1:00 p.m.

There are no registration fees for the lender training, however pre-registration is required. Register online at https://www.ndhfa.org/LenderReAgent/LenderTraining.html. If you have questions, contact Kim Becker at 800/292-8621 or kbecker@ndhfa.org.

Agency Helps First-Time Buyers

“Homeownership is something that will pay off in the long run, and it’s nice to have your own place,” said Derek Nagel, first-time homebuyer.

When Derek Nagel first considered purchasing his first home, he enlisted help from Shirley Thomas, a local Realtor. Nagel had a specific price range and a list of wants in mind. Rather than looking at listed homes on the market, Thomas suggested that he consider building.

“We went over the pros and cons,” said Nagel. “I knew that if I built new, I wouldn’t have to worry about future upgrades or any remodeling. It was also possible for me to have a larger garage.”

Nagel took Thomas’ advice and with the help of the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s (NDHFA) FirstHome™ program, he closed on his first home August 31, 2012.

“Buying new homes is definitely more common now than in previous years; they are considered more, but it all depends on the borrower,” said Lynn Klein, mortgage lender at Gate City Bank who qualified and originated Derek’s loan.

FirstHome™ Program

Whether a potential buyer is looking for a brand new home or an existing home, NDHFA helps state residents become successful homeowners by providing homebuyer education, down payment and closing costs and affordable mortgage loans.

Borrowers that use the FirstHome program must meet income guidelines and the purchase price of the home must be within program limits. They also have to meet normal credit underwriting standards and occupy the home as their principal residence.

About 40 lending institutions statewide actively partner with NDHFA to offer mortgages at an interest rate that is currently around 3.5 percent. Depending on family size and the county where the home being purchased is located, maximum household income is $67,600 to $89,355.

Since 1982, NDHFA has purchased more than 40,000 mortgage loans with a total value exceeding $2.7 billion.

Advice for First-Time Homebuyers

Purchasing a home may seem daunting, but being prepared will help make it a smooth transaction.

Thomas recommends visiting with a professional real estate agent to get the facts about homeownership and to sit down with a qualified lender to see if you can financially afford to buy a home.

“Buying a home may be the largest financial investment of your life,” said Thomas. “It’s smart to be prepared and educate yourself about the process.”

“Many don’t realize that debt can affect your ability to qualify for a home loan,” said Klein. “It’s important to pay your bills on time and save cash for unexpected expenses.”

“To me, homeownership is a really good investment,” said Nagel. “It’s something that will pay off in the long run, and it’s nice to have your own place.”

For more information on NDHFA’s homeownership programs or a list of participating lenders, visit www.ndhfa.org or call (701) 328-8080, (800) 292-8621 or (800) 366-6888 (TTY).