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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Gov. Gary R. Herbert hands an oversized cardboard key to prospective homebuyer Joy Wicks at a press conference announcing housing stimulus mortgages in front of a home that is for sale in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 2, 2012.

SALT LAKE CITY — The dream of home ownership for some Utahns hit hard by the recession may again be a possibility.

The Utah Housing Corp. Monday announced new mortgage loan programs that would target new and former home purchasers looking to get back into the ownership ranks.

UHC is launching new mortgage options to help buyers who need down payment assistance with credit scores of 620 or more, even if they have owned a home before. The HomeAgain and Score loan programs open up the possibility of home ownership for many Utahns who were shut out of the market during the Great Recession, said Deon Spilker, UHC director of mortgage banking.

"(The home) has to meet Federal Housing Administration property standards," Spilker said. That would include traditional single family houses, attached townhomes, condominiums and manufactured homes as long as they are on a permanent foundation, she said.

Established in 1975, UHC is an independent public corporation of the state focusing on creating affordable housing solutions for Utah residents.

Currently, there is no limit on how many loans the agency can take on through the programs, she said. Eligible buyers could earn up to $81,000 per year and could purchase a property with a maximum value of $320,000.

An eligible borrower can obtain a second mortgage for up to 6 percent of a HomeAgain Loan or 4 percent of a Score Loan to use for the down payment and closing costs needed to purchase a property. The second mortgage would be a 30-year fixed rate loan with an interest rate that is 2 percent higher than the first mortgage interest rate. Both the first mortgage and the second mortgage loans would be serviced by UHC.

"Homebuyers who have a (credit) score of 620 deserve a home," she said. "They may have gone through a temporary hardship, and this time we are able to help them."

Joy Wicks of Cottonwood Heights would seem to fit the mold of the type of potential buyer the programs are seeking to help. She and her new husband recently married, each after selling homes from previous marriages.

She said these programs would give them the opportunity to create a better environment for their new combined household.

"We're somewhat struggling financially," Wicks said. "We have the money to pay the monthly mortgage payments. But saving up the seven or eight thousand dollars to put down on a house has been the struggle."

Having just found out about the UHC program, Wicks said, "We're very excited that it's going to allow us the opportunity to start shopping for a home."

Speaking at a news conference Monday in Rose Park announcing the program, Gov. Gary Herbert said he was encouraged that more Utahns would now have that chance to purchase a home.

“These new Utah Housing Corporation mortgages are critical tools in Utah’s economic recovery,” Herbert said. “Homeownership is the heart of financial stability. This helps families and builds our economy.”

Visit www.utahhousingcorp.org or call 801-988-5340 for more information on UHC loan programs. 

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