The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority is best known for providing mortgages and down payment assistance to first-time and repeat homebuyers. They do much more than that, however. In addition to also providing tax credits and financing for the development of affordable rental housing, they likewise offer special financing for buyers who purchase homes in economically distressed neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods are known as Targeted Area Census Tracts.
“Targeted areas are those in which at least 70 percent of households earn no more than 80 percent of the area median income,” according to Teri Baca, homeownership representative for MFA. In New Mexico, the U.S Census Bureau has identified 44 such tracts in eleven counties. McKinley leads the pack with 16.
The program is designed to incentivize first-time and repeat buyers to purchase homes located in economically challenged areas, which is known to increase pride of ownership and help stabilize and raise home values. These special benefits are available to buyers who utilize MFA’s FirstHome program.
So, what sort of incentives does MFA offer to entice buyers to purchase in these areas? First and foremost, buyers don’t have to be first-timers. Current and past homeowners are both eligible as long as they meet the basic MFA qualifications and occupy the home as their primary residence. Loan types include conventional, FHA, VA and USDA, all of which are offered at the lowest rate MFA charged during the preceding twelve months.
Borrowers using FirstHome are also eligible to receive down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of an affordable second mortgage, known as the FirstDown program. In addition, higher-than-normal household income limits range from $73,680 annually for a one or two-person household to $102,200 for families of three or more, depending on the county. Homes valued at $381,308 and below are eligible for financing in most areas, with Santa Fe County being the exception, where a purchase price of up to $442,981 is allowed.