Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Road to Home Ownership: Live Where You Work Program

The “Live Where You Work Homebuyer Program” offers low-interest loan incentives to Plainfield municipal employees who wish to purchase their own homes.

Many of our city employees are renters—this program would offer them the opportunity to realize the dream of home ownership by encouraging them to buy in Plainfield. Our city is eligible to participate in this program—Elizabeth has already taken advantage of it. Without increasing our tax base, we are destined for more tax increases. That will eventually drive people away from our city. And that’s unacceptable.

Below is more information about the program from the New Jersey Housing and Finance Mortage Finance Agency. For a comprehensive overview, go to the following websites:

Call: 1-800-NJ HOUSE

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: The program offers home buyers who will live and work in a Live Where You Work participating municipality a low-interest 30 or 40 -year fixed-rate first mortgage from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency together with Live Where You Work down payment assistance and/or closing costs in an amount equal to 5% of the first mortgage loan. Municipalities must be approved by the Agency to participate in the program. In consideration of the anticipated commuting costs savings, the underwriting guidelines for borrowers’ housing and overall debt ratios (the portion of a borrower’s gross income permitted to be paid toward monthly mortgage payment and other debts) will be expanded by 3% over the usual Agency underwriting limits giving borrowers significantly more buying power. Property location requirements apply.

Properties must be located in a participating Live Where You Work municipality. Eligible properties include one-family units, including condominiums, (new and existing), and existing 2- to 4-family unit properties that are more than 5 years old. Some Live Where You Work municipalities include Urban Target Areas. In Urban Target Areas eligible properties can also include new two-unit residential dwellings. Properties must be located in State designated Smart Growth locations. To determine if your proposed house is located in a Smart Growth area, visit www.njlocator.gov and choose “HMFA Program Eligibility”. Only properties located in approved Live Where You Work municipalities are eligible for the LWYW program benefits.

APPLICATIONS and PARTICIPATING MUNICIPALITIES: Applications for Live Where You Work loans can be made through any of the Agency’s participating Home Buyer Program lenders. The current list of lenders and Live Where You Work Participating Municipalities is available on www.livewhereyouwork.nj.gov or by calling 1 (800) NJ-HOUSE.

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