Obama signs off on bill providing more funding for Rural Development
On Thursday, President Barack Obama signed a bill that will provide the USDA the authority to guarantee additional loans under the program. That’s good news for Arkansas — Realtors throughout the state have said that Rural Development mortgages have helped people purchase homes in most areas of the Natural State.
Rural Development loans come in two flavors — direct and guaranteed. The direct loans program is precisely what it sounds like, but restrictive income limits make it difficult for most Americans to take advantage of it.
The guaranteed program — administered through local banks — is considerably more accessible. In April, it became evident that the guaranteed program would run out of money far before the new federal fiscal year started on Oct. 1.
Most banks in Arkansas stopped taking applications from people wanting to finance homes through Rural Development in mid-April and have been waiting for increased funding for the program since then. The people waiting to close on a house and claim first-time and repeat home buyer tax credits have been anxiously awaiting news of more money available for Rural Development.
The fact Rural Development ran out of money so quickly is no surprise. For one thing, it has operated as one of the few “zero down” mortgage programs in the country. For another, the demand for the program was boosted by the number of people wanting to get homes under contact before May 1 and close on them in time to claim the credits (that deadline was June 30 until Congress voted to extended it to Sept. 30).
Here in Arkansas, most areas are considered rural and people purchasing homes in those locations may be eligible to take advantage of the Rural Development program. Click here to find out which areas are eligible for Rural Development loans.
This bill would provide $34.7 billion to support US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in addition to providing non-military assistance and building up State Department Operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It also provides $24 billion to help keep teachers, police, and firefighters employed during the recession, $13 billion to Vietnam War veterans that have been exposed to Agent Orange, $2.8 billion for Haiti relief, $5.7 billion for PELL grants, $677 million to strengthen the border, $275 million for the Gulf oil spill, and $725 million to offset other needs.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.