Rural Development is the lead Federal agency that works to ensure that rural families have access to safe, well-built, affordable homes. In February 2012, the agency initiated a two-year, pilot refinancing program in 19 states hardest hit by the Nation’s housing downturn to help eligible USDA borrowers reduce their monthly housing costs.
Today, USDA announced that the program is expanding to include eligible rural residents in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
USDA’s expansion of this program will help more rural borrowers refinance their mortgages to reduce their monthly payments and ease their financial burdens. As our economy continues to recover, this refinancing program will enable rural families living in USDA-financed homes to take advantage of historically low interest rates.
Since unveiling this initiative almost one year ago, USDA has been able to help almost 3,400 homeowners across the country take advantage of historically low mortgage rates. These refinanced loans total more than $453 million. And that’s good news for housing as much-needed capital enters America’s recovering housing market.
USDA Rural Development is proud of our effort to help re-energize housing. Last year, in addition to our refinancing efforts, the agency also helped more than 153,000 individuals and families in rural areas obtain safe, affordable homes through our single-family direct and guaranteed loan programs. And Rural Development helped bring safe, affordable multi-family housing to more than 270,000 low- and very-low-income families, thanks to $904.7 million in rental assistance to bring rents to an affordable level.
At USDA, our work builds upon the efforts of the Obama Administration to help responsible borrowers and strengthen the housing market. Due to expansion of the USDA refinancing program, residents in 35 jurisdictions can pursue lower monthly mortgage costs. The original states in the two-year pilot program are Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.
I strongly encourage every homeowner in participating states with a USDA Single Family Guaranteed or Direct loan to learn more about the program and see if it can help them by contacting their local Rural Development office. For a list of state offices, please visit: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.