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USDA offers help to homeowners

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After the fire this summer, I thought it would be obvious that housing plays a key role in New Mexico’s economy. And while recent signs point to an improving national outlook, economists generally agree that a healthy and strong housing market is vital to sustaining the current economic recovery.
This is why the Obama administration is working to help our state and others that have been hit hard by the housing downturn.
Last month,  Agriculture  Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a pilot program here in New Mexico and 18 other states to help rural homeowners refinance their current loans to lower their monthly mortgage payments and get lower interest rates.
This initiative is part of President Obama’s ongoing efforts to help middle-class families, create jobs and strengthen the economy. It will save homeowners time and money and help ensure that hardworking, creditworthy borrowers protect their investment and remain in their homes.
 Since I became USDA Rural Development State Director, I have worked hard to ensure rural residents in our state continue to be able to enjoy the many benefits of homeownership.
Helping homeowners lower their monthly mortgage payments will pump much-needed money into families’ budgets and into the economy.  Homeowners with more money in their pockets are likely to spend these dollars in the local economy. This means more money will be spent right here in New Mexico.
In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama unveiled a Blueprint for an America Built to Last that calls for actions to help borrowers and to support a housing market recovery. While the government cannot fix the housing market on its own, the President and I believe that responsible homeowners should not have to sit and wait for the market to hit bottom to get relief.
Measures like the one underway here in New Mexico will allow homeowners to save thousands of dollars by refinancing at today’s low interest rates.
Participating homeowners must have mortgages made or guaranteed by the Department of Agriculture. They do not need new home appraisals or credit reports, but they must be current on their mortgage payments for the previous 12 months.
This pilot program is good for homeowners, good for the housing market, and good for our state.
To learn more about this program, contact the state Rural Development office at 505-761-4940.
Terry Brunner
State Director
USDA Rural Development – New Mexico