Garfield County supports first-time homebuyers

PRESS RELEASE
June 20, 2019

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield County has authorized the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) to utilize $3.15 million in private activity bond (PABs) capacity to help first-time homebuyers, qualified veterans, and other qualifying homebuyers purchase a single-family home.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns each state an annual bonding authority, or capacity on PABs, which is allocated to municipalities and counties on a per-capita basis. Investors may then purchase the bonds, which are used to help finance various housing developments; mortgage loans; and mortgage credits for first-time homebuyers.

Karen Harkin, community relationship manager for CHFA, told the Board of County Commissioners that 43 households purchased their first homes through the CHFA FirstStep and FirstStep Plus programs in Garfield County over the past 15 months, totaling more than $9 million in sales. The median income of these borrowers was $54,996 and the median loan amount was $201,286.

“An assignment like this from Garfield County demonstrates your commitment to first-time homebuyers moving into your county, as well as overall support for homeownership,” she said. The PAB capacity will be used to help finance the FirstStep and FirstStep Plus programs. Qualifying borrowers will have access to a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, and down payment assistance for up to 4 percent of the loan amount. All borrowers must live in the home as their principal residence.

“Those are our teachers, those are our essential personnel, those are a lot of our administrative workers,” Harkin said. “They have to own it and live there.”

All buyers must complete a CHFA-approved homebuyer education course. In addition to meeting CHFA program requirements, borrowers must qualify according to the underwriting guidelines as determined by one of CHFA’s participating lenders.

The commissioners approved assigning the county’s PAB capacity to CHFA unanimously, 3-0.

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