Low-to-moderate income South Carolinians now have a few options that can boost them toward the purchase of their first home. The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority is offering first-time home buyers loans through a statewide network of participating lenders.
Housing Authority marketing Director Clayton Ingram says the loans have competitive, fixed interest rates, and are offered directly through the state Housing Authority–$5000 in assistance to help first-time buyers with their down payment.
Ingram says first-time buyers are eligible, as well as individuals who have not owned a home in three years, but Ingram says that requirement is waived in certain counties. “There are lots of variations, so I would encourage anyone who might qualify to talk to their realtor, broker or lender about using S.C. State Housing Authority for their mortgage.”
Also, a tax credit for first-time buyers supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act may be as high as $8000. Buyers apply for the tax credit after closing a home purchase. Ingram says the tax credit can be used to pay off their mortgage early or it can be used to make repairs to the home. “It’s a refundable tax credit,” he said, “meaning that even if your refund is small, you’ll still be able to claim it and get money back on your taxes.”
Ingram says the Treasury Department’s recently extended tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8000. For more information go to www.schousing.com or call the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority in Columbia.
Ingram says the assistance is not just for those in the lower income bracket. “It can be quite generous,” he says. “Certainly for the federal tax credit money, it reaches those who many people would consider to be affluent individuals.”
Single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 may qualify for the full tax credit.
Ingram says more South Carolinians should take advantage of the services which his office offers. “A lot of people just think we maintain low-income housing developments,” says Ingram. “That’s not the case as all. One of the main things we do is make loans to people who are getting their first home loan, or who haven’t owned a home in three years. We have low interest- loans and down payment assistance, and often the biggest impediment to buying a home is the down payment.”