Published 1 May 2019
The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) is best known for providing mortgages and down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers. They do much more than that, however. In addition to also providing tax credits and financing for the development of affordable rental housing, they likewise offer special financing for buyers who purchase homes in economically distressed neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods are formally known as Targeted Area Census Tracts.
“Targeted areas are those in which at least 70 percent of households earn no more than 80 percent of the area median income,” according to Teri Baca, homeownership representative for MFA. In New Mexico, the U.S Census Bureau has identified 25 such tracts in eleven counties. Doña Ana County leads the pack with seven.
The program is designed to incentivize first-time and repeat buyers to purchase homes located in economically challenged areas, which is known to increase pride of ownership and help stabilize and raise home values. These special benefits are available to buyers who utilize MFA’s FirstHome program.
So, what sort of incentives does MFA offer to entice buyers to purchase in these areas?
First and foremost, buyers don’t have to be first-timers. Current and past homeowners are both eligible as long as they meet the basic MFA qualifications and occupy the home as their primary residence. Loan types include conventional, FHA, VA and USDA, all of which are offered at the lowest rate MFA charged during the preceding twelve months.
Special financing is available for buyers who purchase homes in economically distressed neighborhoods known as Targeted Area Census Tracts, such as this one in Las Cruces’ historic Mesquite Street district. (Photo: Google Maps)
Borrowers using FirstHome may also be eligible to receive down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of an affordable second mortgage. In addition, higher-than-normal household income limits range from $71,040 annually for a one or two person household to $82,880 for families of three or more. Homes valued at $331,423 and below are eligible for financing.
The seven areas targeted for incentives in Doña Ana County include tracts in Las Cruces, Anthony and Sunland Park. The accompanying maps outline two of the targeted areas located in Las Cruces, which are generally bounded by Mesilla Street on the west, Solano Drive on the east, North Main Street on the north and Idaho Avenue on the south.
This terrific program provides homebuyers with the opportunity to purchase a home in an up and coming area, while utilizing affordable, fixed rate financing and down payment assistance in the process. Sounds like a win-win to me.
For more information, visit http://www.housingnm.org/homebuyers/targeted-area-census-tracts or contact your favorite Realtor.
See you at closing.
Gary Sandler is a full-time Realtor and owner of Gary Sandler Inc., Realtors in Las Cruces. He loves to answer questions and can be reached at 575-642-2292 or Gary@GarySandler.com