Florida Realtors® letter to Congress
Download the full text Florida Realtors President Wendell Davis’s letter to all of Florida’s U.S. Senators and Representatives. (PDF format)
WASHINGTON – March 31, 2010 – A no-down/low downpayment program for rural areas is running out of operational money, jeopardizing sales in some Fla. areas.
Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that funding authority for its popular Rural Housing 502 Single-Family Loan Guarantee program would, according to its notice, “likely be exhausted by the end of April 2010.” Once the funding runs out, the USDA will not issue its conditional commitments to homebuyers “subject to receipt of appropriated funds.”
Officially, new appropriated funds don’t become available until October 2010, but the National Association of Realtors® sent letters to Congressional appropriators urging immediate extension of commitment authority for the program. Other real estate interests, such as the National Association of Builders, have also stepped up pressure on Congress.
In a letter sent to every Florida Congressional lawmaker, Florida Realtors® President Wendell Davis told Senators and Representatives that “worthy homebuyers will be left without access to mortgages” from federal inaction. In the letter, Davis protested the lack of funding for Section 502 rural housing and Congress’ failure to extend the National Flood Insurance Program.
“Homeowners and homebuyers in our state/region are already feeling the impact,” Davis said in his letter. “Given the many challenges financial and real estate markets are facing, now is not the time to create another obstacle to real estate transactions.”
However, Congress is now in recess and does not return until April 12, so additional funding cannot appear until at least then. In addition, an increase in funding is not assured for the rural housing program, and homebuyers counting on the loan could be out of luck – especially those homebuyers hoping to use a USDA loan in time to qualify by the April 30 deadline for the federal tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for move-up buyers.
Loans are first-come, first-served. With 1,900 lenders offering the loans, time is of the essence for homebuyers who plan to use the funding. When the money runs out, the program stops operations.