USDA Housing programs expand for rural Ohioans


Recent changes to USDA Rural Development’s home loan programs mean more rural Ohioans may be able to reach their homeownership goals.

“Coupled with the current low interest rate, USDA’s extended loan terms may allow some applicants to qualify for higher loan amounts,” said Ohio Rural Development Housing Program Director Gerald Arnott. “These loans offer 100 percent financing with no down payment, no origination fees or points, and no private mortgage insurance required.”

Earlier this year, the maximum mortgage limit for a USDA Rural Development direct home loan in Ohio rose to a range of $151,000-$200,000 in most counties.

Additionally, the typical income limit for a one-person household in Highland County is now $32,250, and for a family of four, it’s $46,100.

Because income limits vary by county and household size, applicants are encouraged to contact Ohio Rural Development in their specific area by calling 937-393-1921 or visiting and clicking through to “Single Family Housing Programs.”

The interest rate for USDA Rural Development’s direct home loan program currently is 3.25 percent for a 33-year term. The program can be used to assist rural Ohioans in buying an existing home, financing the construction costs of a new home, or making significant home repairs.

The lower interest rate helps make monthly payments affordable, and often may be less than rent. For example, a $100,000 loan at 3.25 percent would have monthly principal and interest payments of $413.

Payment assistance with interest rates as low as 1 percent may be available to applicants with qualifying incomes. For an applicant who qualifies for a one-percent loan, the monthly payment on a $100,000 loan would be just $297.

USDA Rural Development also offers a guaranteed home loan program with a typical income limit of $78,200 for a one- to four-person household, with no down payment required. Applicants work directly with their lenders to establish mortgage rates and terms.

Finally, loans, along with a limited number of grants, are available to help qualifying very-low income homeowners make needed repairs to their owner-occupied homes.

The maximum loan amount for repair is $20,000 at a one percent interest rate, repayable for up to 20 years. Grants of up to $7,500 are available to homeowners ages 62 and older, and must be used to remove health or safety hazards, such as fixing a leaking roof, installing indoor plumbing, or replacing a furnace.

Applicants are encouraged to contact USDA Ohio Rural Development staff before Sept. 1 to take full advantage of all housing programs.

Ohio Rural Development operates four area offices across the state, including Findlay, Massillon, Marietta, and Hillsboro, with state headquarters located in Columbus.

The Times-Gazette

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