Humboldt County homebuyers jump on loan program – Times-Standard
Residents of Humboldt County looking to buy a home quickly seized the opportunity to receive a low-interest loan through a county program.
The county announced the return of its home purchase assistance loan program on Wednesday morning after receiving grants to help low-income households. The grants came from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Home Program, the California Cal Home Program, and the Community Development Block Grant.
Individuals and families eligible for the program must be first-time home buyers and earn less than 80% of Humboldt County’s median adjusted income per household. As an example in a planning and construction department fact sheet, 80% of the median income per year for a family of four is $ 55,900.
The loans are to be used to purchase a vacant or owner-occupied single family residence in the unincorporated communities of Humboldt County as it is a county program. The maximum price for a future home is $ 307,000.
Applicants must also complete a training course for home buyers, among other conditions.
The in-demand program reopened for the first time since 2016 and offers qualified applicants deferred payment spread loans at low rates, with up to 50% of total loans being loaned by the county.
But as Humboldt County Housing and Grants Coordinator Andrew Whitney told The Times-Standard, the program is capped at 30 applicants, with the list already numbering 25 applications just hours after the announcement.
“I think we might be close to our list by the end of (Wednesday). We may have opened it (Thursday), but I’ve already had 25 inquiries and pre-applications and it’s not even lunchtime yet, ”Whitney said around noon Wednesday. “We have generated a lot of interest and our list is limited to 30. We cannot have more than 30 people on our list, this is a state requirement.”
Whitney said he received regular inquiries about the program ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.
“I would say that every week I get two or three calls from people wanting to know if we’ve reopened… It’s a stable and solid request,” he said.
About 60 to 70 applicants have successfully purchased homes since the program began, about one in three loaned out, Whitney said.
While it is not clear in which direction homeownership rates are moving, the greatest interest in the program comes from tenants.
“Most of the people we hear about who want to buy a home are currently renting. It almost feels like a lot of tenants are getting kicked out of their homes because landlords and landlords are selling because the prices are higher right now, ”said Whitney. “I think it will be some time before we see data on (homeownership rates).”
While the waitlist for the county’s program has quickly filled up, Whitney says local municipalities can offer similar programs when possible.
With prices getting higher and higher, Whitney’s department would like to see some relief for buyers and beneficiaries of the program.
“We hope there will be a change in the homebuyer’s market,” he said.
UPDATE: The county announced at 3:48 p.m. it was closing its waiting list after receiving more than 70 applications. County staff will review applications to determine the applicant’s eligibility to maintain their waiting list below 30 entries. Applicants can expect to hear from program staff in the coming weeks.
“The county would like to thank residents for their interest in purchasing a home in Humboldt County,” the county post concludes.
Mario Cortez can be reached at 707-441-0526.