July 2020
AHFA Announces New HFA Preferred Rural Homebuyer Program
To help potential homebuyers in rural areas, AHFA has teamed up with Fannie Mae to offer the HFA Preferred Rural Homebuyer Program.

This program will be used in conjunction with the Step Up down payment assistance program and will provide a subsidy to help lower a homebuyer’s monthly mortgage payment and decrease upfront costs.

Property must be located in one of the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Escambia, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Washington, Wilcox.

The program is available until October 2, 2020.

This assistance can be combined with a Mortgage Credit Certificate to make buying a home even more affordable.

More information about the program and eligibility requirements can be found at   http://ow.ly/yhcF50AwSE6 .
Third Quarter 2020 Leading Lenders Announced
Each quarter, AHFA recognizes the top loan officers who are closing the most deals using AHFA homeownership programs: Step Up, Affordable Income Subsidy Grant, and Mortgage Credit Certificates.

The top three Leading Lenders for Fiscal Year 2020, 3rd Quarter are, in alphabetical order:

Congratulations to these lenders! We appreciate them utilizing our programs to make buying a home more affordable for Alabamians.
Lender Spotlight: Jonathan Robert, Prosperity Home Mortgage, Pelham
Jonathan Robert is a mortgage consultant with eight years of experience. Since joining Prosperity Mortgage nearly two years ago, Robertson has been recognized as one of its Top 10 originators for customer service excellence. After hearing about AHFA homeownership programs from fellow loan officers, Robertson has become an avid user of these programs and has been recognized as a quarterly AHFA Leading Lender two times in the last year.

Q: What do you think is the greatest benefit of AHFA programs for homebuyers?
A: It allows homeowners who traditionally have not been able to come up with down payment funds or qualify for 100 percent financing to achieve the dream of homeownership –- often for less money than rent!

Q: What makes you recommend the Step Up program to your customers?
A: Less restrictive guidelines than many other programs for low down payment. In addition, my clients are not penalized with higher interest rates or excessive fees.

Q: Have you had any customers who would not have been able to buy a home without Step Up? How did the down payment assistance help?
A: Absolutely. One particular couple comes to mind that had actually been declined by another lender with USDA. Using Step Up, we were able to get them approved and closed. Without this program they would still be living with family members.
Q: What is the best advice you can give to first-time homebuyers?
A: Make sure you are working with the right people – lenders, Realtors, appraisers, inspectors, etc.! They can make the homebuying process either very smooth or very difficult.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about your job?
A: Helping young families purchase their first homes. Also, the relationships I have made with clients, Realtors, and everyone else involved in the process.
Staying Home to Save Lives Didn't Slow Down These AHFA Lenders
COVID-19 has changed all of our lives the past few months. Homes have become offices, schools, gyms, barber shops, bakeries – you name it. But AHFA homeownership programs continue to make buying a home more affordable when Alabamians decide they’re ready.

Alabama families are taking advantage of these programs with the help of FirstBank , loanDepot , and First Federal Bank . They have closed the most loans using AHFA programs since the pandemic started. We're reaching out to lenders at these three companies to hear how they have adjusted since the pandemic has changed the homebuying process. Below are comments from loanDepot and First Federal lenders:
"The homebuying process has definitely become harder due to COVID-19; guideline restrictions have made qualifying more challenging, and there are additional verifications that must be completed to get us to the finish line. I’ve always appreciated the ability to offer AHFA programs to my clients and am so happy that during these unprecedented times, buyers in need can still take advantage of these programs."

"Since COVID-19, there has been an increase in down payment assistance financing. As some of the uncertainty has left people wanting their cash in the bank; “cash is king” mentality. In one aspect not much has changed for us as we always have been behind the computer screen churning out loans. So now it’s the same thing, however our customers are more behind the screen themselves and more accessible during the process. Partner that with the technology of loanDepot, the mortgage process really has gotten smoother and easier. Keeping in mind we are not paid by rates, programs, or closing cost, so for us truly helping our community better their lives through home ownership is a blessing. Having access to such a great program like AHFA Step Up has really been great to have in our arsenal of products. There is no better feeling then providing a bedroom for a child and a roof over a family’s head."

"I think the COVID-19 pandemic has made apartment dwellers realize the value of homeownership, and they are now more excited to buy a home than ever before! I have received an increased interest; however, the down payment is a concern. I am proud to be able to offer the programs that AHFA offers to help make the homeownership dream happen, especially during the pandemic."

"The homebuying process has most definitely became harder with the guideline restrictions due to COVID-19 and made it more of a challenge to qualify with the ups and downs of the credit score, the debt-to-income ratio requirements, and additional verifications prior to closing. I have always appreciated being able to offer the AHFA programs to my clients over the years and am so glad we still can offer these in this trying time of COVID-19."

"During this pandemic, I feel that AHFA has been consistent in the market. When other programs were suspended, AHFA was still able to offer their product and still able to meet their turn times with getting the files approved and back to us in a timely manner."

ACRE Podcast Features Hardest Hit Alabama
Recently, Business Development Manager Cathy James joined the Alabama Center for Real Estate's Real Estate Matters podcast to share news about AHFA’s reopening of Hardest Hit Alabama to provide short-term mortgage payment assistance to homeowners affected by COVID-19.

HHA is a foreclosure prevention program that helps eligible homeowners facing temporary financial hardships keep their home. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury's "Hardest Hit Fund" that was authorized under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and administered in Alabama by AHFA.

Since its inception in 2010, HHA has provided more than $82 million to nearly 7,800 Alabama families to help them avoid foreclosure.

AHFA's Investment In Affordable Rental Housing Tops $1 Billion
AHFA's Multifamily Division is reporting a total of $1,000,871,103 in approved and active funding investments.

AHFA is Alabama’s administrator of the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, as well as the national Housing Trust Fund. In addition, AHFA issues multifamily housing revenue bonds for the acquisition, renovation and new construction of affordable rental housing.

These programs create affordable rental housing by providing funding and tax incentives that help developers build or rehabilitate properties for Alabama’s low-income families.
AHFA Accepting Comments on 2021 Allocation Plans
AHFA conducted a public hearing July 21 at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium concerning the following:

  • The proposed Substantial Amendment to the HUD Approved 2020 HOME Action Plan for the distribution of HOME funds in exchange for new construction of low-income projects and for the monitoring of HOME projects

  • The proposed 2021 HOME Action Plan, the Housing Credit Qualified Allocation Plan, and the National Housing Trust Fund Allocation Plan (Plans) for the distribution of HOME funds, Housing Credits, and National Housing Trust Funds in exchange for the new construction and substantial rehabilitation of low-income projects and for the monitoring of HOME, Housing Credits, and National Housing Trust funds for all projects

AHFA will accept written comments until 5 p.m. on August 20 . Full details, including draft plans and comment forms, are available at   http://ow.ly/4Svy50Ay1pc.
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If you have not already done so, sign up today!
Alabama Housing Finance Authority | Montgomery, Alabama | 334.244.9200 | Email | Website