Construction spending falls to lowest level in 5 years

March 05, 2008 at 1:54 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Residential construction spending continued to fall across the nation last month, which was the 21st consecutive monthly decline, putting that spending level at its lowest mark since September of 2003.

And with the prices of gas and insurance reaching astronomical levels, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency continues to give extra help to those state residents looking for help in purchasing a home.

The Mortgage Revenue Bond Assisted Program (MRB) is available for first-time homebuyers with the closing costs or down payment assistance coming in the form of a grant equal to 4 percent of the mortgage amount. The interest rates for the program, which were sitting at 6.5 percent, have dropped to 6.3 percent. To qualify, the home’s purchase price must be listed below $237,031.

LHFA has set aside nearly $3 million for the program.
The MRB program is useful because it helps people overcome one of the biggest barriers to owning a home, which is coming up with the thousands of dollars needed for closing cost.

"It is a good time to get a mortgage loan with the rates where they stand," Joe Otillio, co-owner of AmCor Mortgage, said. "We don't know what rates are going to do, but energy costs are creating inflationary pressure within the economy. Because of that, mortgage rates may soon be facing an increase."

Because St. Charles Parish is located in a Go Zone, the first-time homebuyer rule can be waived, which allows anyone looking to purchase a home to be eligible for the low rates.
To meet the income limits, a person must have an average to good credit score and a stable income. The property must be owner-occupied and be either a new or existing one to four unit dwelling, condo, townhouse or manufactured home.

Mobile, recreational or vacation homes are not eligible under this program.

In addition to the MRB program, the state has also lowered its interest rate for the Low Mortgage Unassisted Program to 5.95 percent. This program is for homebuyers who have the minimum down payments and money for closing cost, but want a below-market interest rate. If interested homeowners act fast, they could attain an interest rate of 5.84 percent.

Close to $3.2 million still remains in that program.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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