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FirstHome Mortgage Could Help Workers in Brunswick, New Hanover Low-Interest Loan Gets First-Time Buyers Into Housing Marke

Press Contact Only:
Margaret Matrone, NCHFA, 919-877-5606,
Connie Helmlinger, NCHFA, 919-877-5607,

A FirstHome Mortgage could help police officers, teachers, and other workers in Brunswick and New Hanover counties who are being squeezed out of the housing market. FirstHome Mortgage offers low interest rates – currently 5.75% – and downpayment assistance for first-time home buyers.

The mortgage is offered by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency through more than 700 lenders and their branches statewide, including 39 in Brunswick and New Hanover counties (see list at end). The 30-year, fixed rate mortgages use FHA, VA, USDA or conventional insurance or guarantees and can be used to purchase existing homes up to $190,000 and new homes up to $200,000.

According to a recent study, Brunswick County workers saw their wages increase only 2.5 % on average from 2000 to 2005, while home values rose 8% and monthly rents rose 5.3%. The study was prepared by researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill for the N.C. Association of Community Development Corporations.

“Many workers are spending a higher percentage of their income for housing or simply can’t afford to live in the county they serve,” the Housing Finance Agency’s Executive Director Bob Kucab said. “FirstHome Mortgage could enable them to live where they work.”

To qualify, buyers’ incomes must be below $61,500 for a family of three or more in Brunswick and New Hanover counties. [EDITOR: INCOME LIMITS VARY DEPENDING ON COUNTY AND FAMILY SIZE.] For the nearly 2,200 North Carolinians who used FirstHome Mortgage in 2006, the average income was $40,520, with loans made to workers with incomes as low as $25,000.

Buyers with incomes below $43,350 (for a family of four) also may qualify for downpayment assistance. The Housing Finance Agency offers zero-interest, deferred second mortgages up to $7,000 that are paid when the primary loan is retired or the house is sold. Conventional loans with 100% financing are available to qualified buyers. FirstHome Mortgage also includes a Job Loss Feature to help homeowners keep their home. If eligible homeowners become unemployed in the first two years of the loan, the Housing Finance Agency will make four months of principal and interest payments to be repaid at the end of the mortgage term with no interest.

Renters can find affordable apartments through, a newly expanded statewide service that lists rental properties, provides photos, and describes amenities and eligibility requirements. is cosponsored by the N.C. Housing Finance Agency and other housing organizations.

The free bilingual service allows renters to search online for up-to-date apartment vacancies, maps, pictures and contact information. In addition, renters can search for apartments with accessibility accommodations. Apartment-seekers should go to and click on “Find a Property" or call 1-877-428-8844, a bilingual call center.

More information about FirstHome Mortgage and other N.C. Housing Finance Agency home buyer programs is available at or by calling 800-393-0988.

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency is a self-supporting public agency. It has financed 176,000 homes and apartments in the last three decades, including nearly 74,000 homes for first-time home buyers. To learn more, go to or call 919-877-5700 or 800-393-0988