Tag Archives: homeownership

Agency Reports Record Breaking Loan Production

NDHFA-LogoBISMARCK, ND – First-time buyers pushed North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s (NDHFA) homeownership program to a record-breaking level this spring.

“NDHFA’s FirstHome™ loan reservations total in May was 185 percent higher than last year,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. The state agency’s program provides first-time home buyers with low-cost financing and, if desired, down payment and closing cost assistance.

The agency received 262 loan reservations in May for $44 million in financing, the highest non-special event month on record. During the same time period in 2017, NDHFA recorded 141 reservations. The agency’s staff attributes some of the demand to the interest rates it is currently offering.

“With conventional financing at 4.25 percent and NDHFA at 3.75 percent, the payment on a $200,000 loan is about $60 less per month,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA homeownership division director.

The greatest uptick in program activity is in Grand Forks County, almost double last year’s. In Williams County, where a limited number of entry-level homes are reportedly available, NDHFA’s loan production is down 25 percent. The greatest overall program use, as is the norm, is in Cass and Burleigh/Morton counties.

Private-sector lenders originate loans on NDHFA’s behalf and sell them to the agency when the loans are closed. Year-to-date, the average loan purchased by the agency is just under $167,000.

The limit for single-family homes purchased is $271,164 to $303,882, depending on household size and the county in which the property is located.

NDHFA’s program is available to state residents earning up to $98,900 who have not owned a home in the last three years. In 2017, the average borrower’s household income was $56,000.
Sixty percent of NDHFA’s borrowers use the down payment and closing cost assistance offered.

“The purchase assistance allows these buyers to enter the market sooner and to keep their funds for household expenses like a lawnmower, furniture and paint for their new house,” said Flohr.

“Homeownership rates in North Dakota declined during the energy boom with many incoming households choosing to rent,” said Kline. “If our purchase activity is indicative of more households becoming homeowners, that is a good thing for North Dakota because homeowners are more invested in their community.” In 2010, the U.S. Department of Census reported that 65.4 percent of North Dakotans owned a home. It is now estimated at 63.5 percent.

A 1997 federal disaster declaration allowed NDHFA to provide purchase assistance to households impacted by flooding including those who had previously owned a home and those whose income exceeded normal program limits. That special event resulted in 280 loans in March 1998 and 268 in Sept. 1997.

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.

Agency Receives Tier 1 Ranking

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) received a Tier 1 ranking for the FY 2018 Q1 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) National Servicing Center for servicing Federal Housing Administration (FHA) guaranteed single-family loans.

“NDHFA scored 97.18 percent ranking the agency in the top 17 percent of all FHA servicers nationwide,” said Dave Flohr, the agency’s homeownership division director. That quarter, 971 FHA servicers were scored.

The tier ranking system measures a mortgagee’s compliance with delinquent servicing guidelines and requirements in the areas of early delinquency intervention, loss mitigation engagement quantity and quality, and reporting.

HUD established the tier ranking system to protect FHA borrowers from servicer non-compliance and to monitor potential servicer-specific or industry-wide delinquent servicing issues. A higher work-out ratio shows a servicer’s effectiveness in working with delinquent borrowers to keep them out of foreclosure.

“The ratios used for the calculations can be unpredictable and a score can be impacted by one loan’s performance,” said Flohr. “For that reason, our score doesn’t matter as much to HUD as consistent compliance with policy and regulations.”

Of the 8,200 loans NDHFA currently services, 3,900 are FHA guaranteed. The last time the agency was ranked Tier 1 was for FY 2017 Q1.

NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. More information on the agency and the affordable housing programs it administers is available online at www.ndhfa.org.

Homeownership Program Eligibility Limits Increased

NDHFA-LogoBISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved an increase in the eligibility limits for state programs that assist with home purchases. Administered by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA), the programs help North Dakotans, typically first-time buyers, buy a home by providing low-cost financing, and down payment and closing cost assistance.

“With these increases we hope that more North Dakotans will be able to purchase a home,” said commission members in a joint statement. “The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has already helped 42,000 individuals and families become homeowners by providing more than $3 billion in financing since 1982.” The Industrial Commission, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees NDHFA.

The maximum income limits for NDHFA’s FirstHome™ and HomeAccess programs were set at $83,900 to $98,900, and North Dakota Roots was set at $117,460 to $138,460. The limits vary depending on household size and the county in which a financed home is located.

The FirstHome and HomeAccess acquisition cost limits were set at $271,164 to $303,882 for a single-family home. Higher limits were approved for existing two- to four-unit properties. These limits also vary based on the county in which a property is located. North Dakota Roots program users must comply with limits set by their loan insurer or guarantor.

“During the first quarter of 2018 North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s FirstHome program saw a 47 percent increase in program activity over the same period in 2017,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. “If the trend continues, 2018 will be busy for our Homeownership Division.”

In 2017, NDHFA assisted 1,076 first-time homebuyers through its FirstHome program. The average borrower’s household income was $57,573 and the average loan amount was $162,643.

The income and acquisition cost limits for NDHFA’s programs are regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Internal Revenue Service respectively. The updated limits are effective for loan reservations dated on or after May 1, 2018.

Through HomeAccess, special needs households who may have previously owned a home may receive the same purchase assistance as first-time buyers. NDHFA’s North Dakota Roots program provides purchase assistance to moderate-income buyers who may have previously owned a home and first-time buyers whose income exceeds the FirstHome program limits.

Private-sector lenders originate the mortgage loans on NDHFA’s behalf and sell them to the agency when the loans are closed. Parties interested in learning more about the programs will find information online at http://www.ndhfa.org.

NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans.

Fugere Joins Housing Agency’s Homeownership Division

Amy Fugere

BISMARCK, ND – Amy Fugere of Bismarck, ND, was recently hired by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency. The state agency helps low- to moderate-income North Dakotans achieve homeownership by providing down payment and closing cost assistance, and affordable mortgage loans.

A homeownership specialist, Fugere will work primarily in mortgage acquisition, reviewing loan applications and communicating with participating lenders to ensure compliance with program standards. As needed, Fugere will assist with borrower services.

“Amy’s lending background makes her an excellent addition to both the homeownership origination and servicing teams,” said Jolene Kline, the agency’s executive director.

Prior to coming to work at NDHFA, Fugere worked at Capital Credit Union as an underwriter and at Gate City Bank as a loan officer.

The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum, as the chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees NDHFA. For more information on the agency’s homeownership programs, contact NDHFA at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

Homeownership Programs Income and Acquisition Limits Updated

BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved updated income and acquisition cost limits for the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s (NDHFA) homeownership programs. The NDHFA assists state residents, typically first-time buyers, with the purchase of a home by providing low-cost financing and offering down payment and closing cost assistance and homebuyer education.

“Over the past 35 years, the NDHFA has helped more than 41,000 individuals and families successfully achieve homeownership,” said members of the Industrial Commission in a joint statement. “Homeownership is a dream for many families, and by working with our lending partners we are pleased to assist them in reaching that goal.”

The commission, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, oversees the NDHFA.

The maximum income limits for NDHFA’s FirstHome™ and HomeAccess programs were set at $77,600 to $102,925, and North Dakota Roots was set at $108,640 to $135,380. The limits vary depending on household size and the county where a financed home is located.

The FirstHome and HomeAccess acquisition cost limits for Burleigh, Morton, Stark and Williams counties were set at $273,176 for a new or existing single-family home. For all other counties, the limits were set at $253,809. Higher limits were also approved for existing two- to four-unit properties. North Dakota Roots program users must comply with limits set by their loan insurer or guarantor.

A network of private-sector lenders originate loans on the NDHFA’s behalf and sell the loans to the agency when they are closed. The updates are effective for loan reservations dated on or after June 6, 2017.

“We continue to see a favorable marketplace for first-time buyers and expect to serve approximately the same number of households in 2017 as we did the previous year,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

In 2016, the NDHFA assisted 1,087 first-time homebuyers through its FirstHome program. The average borrower’s household income was $56,000 and the average loan amount was $160,400.

Through HomeAccess, special needs households who may have previously owned a home may receive the same purchase assistance as first-time buyers.

Through North Dakota Roots, the NDHFA provides purchase assistance to moderate-income buyers who may have previously owned a home and first-time buyers whose income exceeds FirstHome program limits.

Borrowers receiving purchase assistance from the NDHFA are expected to meet normal credit underwriting standards and must intend to occupy the property as their principal residence. A minimum of a $500 out-of-pocket cash investment is required.

The income limits for the NDHFA’s homeownership programs are based on median income numbers published annually by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mortgage revenue bond regulations allow the agency to use the greater of county or state median income.

Based on Federal Housing Administration loan limits, the NDHFA’s acquisition cost limits are dictated by the Internal Revenue Service. The limits are adjusted to take into account the differences between average and median home prices and do not differentiate between new and existing properties.

The NDHFA is a public financial institution dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. More information on the agency’s homeownership programs is available online, www.ndhfa.org, or by contacting the agency at (800) 292-8621.

What’s Right for You?

Gena_Teresa_together

FirstHome program user Teresa Sayler (right) relied heavily on Gena Syvertson (left) of REMAX Legacy Realty to find the right home and negotiate the terms of the sale.

While many young adults wait until they are married or involved in a long-term relationship before pursuing homeownership, Teresa Sayler knew having her own home was what she wanted.

Sayler moved to Fargo, ND, for college and stayed on after graduation. She lived in apartments for a dozen years, a situation that to her always felt temporary. At 30 years of age, Sayler was ready to be grounded.

Turns out while buying on her own was a little nerve racking, “I had to remind myself to take things one step at a time,” Sayler isn’t alone in following that path. After married couples, the National Association of Realtors ranks single women, age 18 to 34, as the second largest home buying group in the United States making up 15 percent or more of the market each year.

“Single females often are heading out of their own at an earlier age to establish their households,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s managing director of survey research and communications. Men purchase on their own half as often.

Taking full advantage of available resources helped Sayler ease her solo purchase anxiety. In addition to taking a homebuyer education class, she talked to a financial advisor and took a class focused on budgeting, paying down debt and building savings. Sayler also visited with family and friends to learn about their experiences. When she was confident that she was really ready, Sayler sat down with a lender.

Clayton Lilleby of First Community Credit Union pre-qualified Sayler for North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s FirstHome™ program and referred her to the person she relied on heavily to find the right home and negotiate the terms of the sale, Gena Syvertson of REMAX Legacy Realty.

A real estate agent for more than a dozen years, Syvertson has a soft spot for first-time buyers. She enjoys educating them, stepping them through the purchase process, and making sure they understand the terms being used. She reminds them to ask questions too so they are comfortable with the decisions they are making.

Teresa_saw

While Teresa Sayler isn’t afraid of taking on home improvement projects, her real estate agent encouraged her to have a home inspection and include an inspection clause in the purchase agreement so if major repairs were needed, they could be addressed before closing. Doing so gave Sayler peace of mind that her new home would be structurally sound.

“Before looking at any homes,” said Syvertson, “Teresa and I sat down and we talked about home features she really needed versus things she might want to have and what the tradeoffs might be.”

Initially, Sayler wasn’t interested in a twin home, but she knew she wanted an attached garage to better endure North Dakota’s cold winters. A large outdoor space was another priority, so she could have a garden, more privacy, and have friends over to sit around a firepit on summer evenings.

Helping Sayler narrow down her list of must-haves and understand the improvements that could be made after a home was hers really helped. “I only physically looked at about four or five homes before I found one that I made an offer on,” Sayler said.

While Sayler wasn’t afraid of taking on some projects, Syvertson encouraged her to have a home inspection and include an inspection clause in the purchase agreement so if major repairs were needed, they could be addressed before closing. Doing so gave Sayler peace of mind that her new home would be structurally sound.

While Sayler now takes pride in being a homeowner, she’s only talked to a few friends about buying. When the subject comes up, she doesn’t immediately push them into homeownership.

“If they think it’s what they want, I encourage them to educate themselves, to talk to a real estate agent and make sure their finances are in order. Don’t buy a home just because everyone else is. Forget about everything you see on Pinterest, and what your family and friends are saying and doing, is it right for you?”

From the Director, November 2016

JoleneKlineWeb

Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

The next year will be interesting for affordable housing in North Dakota and across the country. With economic, political and demographic changes all afoot, there are many unknowns.
The recent elections will bring a new president, new governor and many new legislators in North Dakota. Learning more about their policy aims and helping to provide information on housing needs in the state to them is an important task for us. There will be many issues on the table and we need to make sure that housing is not forgotten.

There were some housing champions who retired or were defeated and we will miss working with them, but I am hopeful that we will have good working relationships with all of our policymakers and that a new crop of champions will arise. I thank our past elected officials for their service to our state and congratulate all those who won a seat.

As the Statewide Housing Needs Assessment shows us, the affordable housing needs in North Dakota are real and they are significant. With increases in seniors, low-income households and people with a disability expected in the next 15 years, our work definitely is not done. Having the resources to address those needs could be a challenge. As our latest allocation round for the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program showed us, there just is not enough money to fund all of the good and needed projects that are out there. In the last several years, we can only fund about half of the projects that apply for funds. The Housing Incentive Fund has helped make up that difference and has been a powerful tool. But with the program set to end on June 30, we may not have the ability to create the housing that will be needed for the additional households we expect to see.

While the oil slowdown and changes in the economic condition of the state have created some uncertainty, we have also seen households that have been able to take advantage of the situation (in the best possible way). We have seen increased homebuyer activity across the state, which is very positive. We know that a rental situation isn’t ideal for every family so if some can get into their own home in an affordable way, our communities will benefit. We are proud of the role we can play in helping those families and communities. There are also some households that need affordable rental options so we are proud of how we can help them too.

Where we go in the future is in our hands and I am hopeful that affordable housing will continue to be part of the conversation.