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Rural Opportunity Mortgage Enables More North Carolinians to Buy First Home

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

Buying a home just got easier for very-low-income North Carolinians thanks to a partnership of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Rural Opportunity Mortgage allows low-income buyers to secure a first mortgage at 0% interest and a second mortgage with an interest rate as low as 1%.

While the N.C. Housing Finance Agency’s below-market-rate First-Time Home Buyer Mortgages have helped thousands of families, some buyers’ incomes were still too low to qualify for the mortgages. These buyers now may be able to purchase their first home with the low-rate Rural Opportunity Mortgage. Under the joint program, the USDA can originate and close the Agency’s mortgages in conjunction with its own Rural Housing (Section 502) Direct Loans. The mortgages target borrowers with low incomes, sometimes below 50% of their area’s median, and offer longer repayment terms.

“This program has the potential to help thousands of rural North Carolinians buy their first home,” said Lucius S. Jones, chairman of the Agency’s board of directors. “The Rural Opportunity Mortgage offers interest rates low enough to help hundreds of rural families who have been priced out of the housing market.”

To qualify for the Rural Opportunity Mortgage, buyers must

  • be a first-time home buyer or not have owned a principal residence during the past three years, or be a displaced homemaker or single parent.
  • have a family income of 80% or less of the area median.
  • be a reasonable credit risk.

Properties must be located in North Carolina , meet sales price limits, and have been built after January 1, 1978 . Eligible property types include single family detached homes, condominiums or planned unit developments approved by the USDA; townhouses and new manufactured housing eligible for USDA financing under a land-home transaction; and 30-year amortization, new homes, fixed to a permanent foundation.

Home buyers interested in the Rural Opportunity Mortgage should contact their local USDA office. To locate a USDA office, call (919) 873-2060 or go to

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency is a self-supporting state agency that has financed nearly $9 billion of homes and apartments. Its First-Time Home Buyer Mortgages have enabled 67,000 families and individuals to purchase homes.

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