By Mike Colpitts
In a major effort to help its ailing real estate market, one state is offering lower-income residents a way to purchase homes through federally backed mortgages at mortgage rates below the lowest available elsewhere, and they’re also putting up down payments to make the home purchases.
The mortgage rate is a deal of a lifetime for residents in New Hampshire, who qualify for the program that provides a cash grant equal to 4% of the purchase price to help home purchasers defray the cost of a down payment. Borrowers must pay a minimum of only 1% of their own money.
The program was developed to help defray the number of foreclosed homes in the states hardest hit areas, and make neighborhoods damaged by the foreclosure crisis improve.
The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority is offering a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.25% to first time buyers who qualify for the program. Borrowers must meet rigid underwriting guidelines to be part of the program, but working families are finding the deal of a lifetime.
Freddie Mac said its 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.22% across the U.S. in its nationwide survey last Thursday, an increase from 4.15% the prior week when it hit a new all-time record low. Analysts aren’t sure whether rates will drop that low again, but they’re fairly certain they won’t get close to the 3.25% offered by the housing authority to borrowers in New Hampshire.
The mortgage rate program may already show some evidence of working. New Hampshire had the 30th lowest foreclosure rate for any state in the country in July, according to RealtyTrac with just one in every 1,274 residential properties in the foreclosure pipeline.
The foreclosure rate has also dropped 43.59% since a year ago, demonstrating an improvement in the state’s housing markets. New Hampshire is a non-judicial foreclosure state so its markets weren’t substantially involved by the state Attorneys General investigation into the robo-signing scandal.