SC’s critical workers get a boost toward buying a home

rburris@thestate.comApril 23, 2014 

— Buying a home got easier for some of the state’s critical workers Wednesday when the South Carolina Housing Authority announced a revamp of its 2014 Palmetto Heroes program.

The restructured program offers below market mortgage interest rates, greater down payment assistance and a state-backed mortgage credit return.

Even for credit worthy borrowers, it is eight times harder to secure a home loan today than in 2008, the authority said, citing U.S. Census and national mortgage banker’s statistics.

The Housing Authority announced the revamped Palmetto Heroes program Wednesday at its annual Palmetto Affordable Housing Forum at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, where 500 housing representatives from across the state met.

This year’s Palmetto Heroes include: law enforcement officers, correctional officers, teachers, nurses and certified nursing assistants, firefighters, veterans and emergency medical services personnel.

Revamped benefits include:

4 percent mortgage interest rate, down from 4.5 percent

•  $7,000 down payment assistance, up from $5,000

•  An added South Carolina Mortgage Credit Certificate, which can be used to help qualify for a loan and recoup up to $2,000 per year from mortgage interest.

The S.C. Housing Authority has made nearly 40,000 first mortgages totaling $2.5 billion since the inception of its Mortgage Bond Program, 40 years ago.

The Housing Authority also named its mortgage lender of the year during the two-day forum, which is Midland Mortgage.

Midland Mortgage produced total home mortgage lending of $3,939,480 in 2013, creating homeownership for 40 families in the Palmetto State.

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