Governor Pat Quinn today will visit Marion and Collinsville to raise awareness of his new Welcome Home Illinois loan program for first-time homebuyers. The Governor will discuss the impact first-time homebuyers have on the state's economy and urge them to act fast while the successful program is available. The events are part of Governor Quinn's agenda to drive economic growth by making homeownership more affordable in Illinois.
"Welcome Home Illinois has already helped hundreds of homebuyers take the first step toward making one of the most significant investments of their lifetime," Governor Quinn said. "The limited funds available are quickly being reserved and we want to make sure all our hardworking men and women across the state have the opportunity of homeownership they deserve."
The new loan program, administered through the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), provides first-time homebuyers $7,500 in down-payment assistance with an interest rate as low as 3.875 percent for a secure, 30-year fixed rate mortgage. As the spring buying cycle hits its stride, Welcome Home Illinois is generating interest rapidly because the program is tailored to working families with borrower income limits up to 140 percent of the area median income (AMI). For example, a family of three in Marion or Collinsville could qualify earning up to $82,915 in annual household income.
Following an overwhelming response since the program's launch at the beginning of April, more than $50 million in financing has been reserved as residents lock in $7,500 in down-payment assistance and below-market rates. Many house hunters are already flooding the housing market during the spring buying season. More than 50,000 have visited the Welcome Home Illinois website and local homebuyers are quickly recognizing the program for its historically low rates, currently at 3.875 percent, which is well below the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.27 percent.
"We currently rent and had all but given up on buying a new home," Tabitha Smith, Marion resident and first-time homebuyer said. "Once we learned about the new Welcome Home Illinois loan program with its low rate and down payment assistance, we decided to give buying another shot. I'm glad we did as we're now in the process of buying our first home. Given we're expecting twins this summer, this program could not have come at a better time for our family!"
Welcome Home Illinois will also benefit the overall economy. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), every home sold generates two jobs and $60,000 in ripple effects to the overall economy. This impact has already been realized statewide with other IHDA programs. In 2013, 3,000 families purchased homes through one of IHDA's programs, generating 1,500 jobs and infusing $70 million into Illinois' economy. Projections show that just a 15 percent increase in 2014 could generate an additional 1,725 jobs and put another $10 million into Illinois' economy.
"Families across the state are quickly recognizing Welcome Home Illinois as a perfect first step to becoming a homeowner," IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. "In fact, Welcome Home Illinois has received the largest and fastest response Illinois Housing Development Authority has had to any program we have ever launched. With more than 400 reservations made in the program's first three weeks, it's truly gratifying to see this program help real people realize their dream of homeownership, helping them to build a better future and leading to a stronger overall economy in Illinois."
Welcome Home Illinois is open to qualified Illinois first-time homebuyers, or anyone who hasn't owned their primary residence in the past three years, on a first come, first served basis. The program is partially funded through Illinois Jobs Now! and the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund. With funding quickly being reserved, interested home buyers can find additional details about the program and a list of 100 lenders at WelcomeHomeIllinois.gov.