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Utah Announces Plan to Help Homebuyers

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By Andrea Smardon

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kuer/local-kuer-1008608.mp3

Salt Lake City, UT – Joy Wicks once owned a home, but then she divorced, and could no longer afford it. Now, with record low interest rates and plenty of affordable homes on the market, Wicks want to buy a home in Sandy with her new husband, but finding the money for a down payment is a barrier.

"We would always hear about these no-down payment options, but they're for first time homebuyers only. You almost felt kind of penalized for having owned before," said Wicks.

Utah Housing Corporation is now offering loans for those who can't afford a down payment. That loan -available to both first-time and repeat homebuyers - essentially functions as a second mortgage. Wicks says if she can get a loan for an 8 thousand dollar down payment, she can afford the monthly payments for a 200,000 dollar home.

"This is a great opportunity to be able to take advantage of today's prices and interest rates. We're very excited about it," she said.

Grant Whitaker is President of the Utah Housing Corporation. He says the new mortgage options open up possibilities for people with annual incomes under 81,000 dollars and with credit scores of 620 or more.

"We think there could be thousands of people who are in these categories - waiting on the sidelines to buy homes, but didn't have their down payment," said Whitaker. Now we can lend some of that to them, and now they'll be getting into homes."

Governor Gary Herbert says the program will hopefully spur the housing market in a sustainable way.

"The sub-prime mortgage problem was where we got people into homes that they could not afford," said Herbert. "This is not that program. This is a program where you've got to qualify to make the payments. If you don't qualify - you can't get a house."

Herbert says Utah's economic recovery won't be complete until a financially healthy housing market is restored. He expects that to happen within 12 to 18 months.

Visit www.utahhousingcorp.org or call 801-988-5340 for more information on UHC loan programs.

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