SOURCE: Meriwest Credit Union

March 11, 2005 06:00 ET

New Buyer Assistance Program Gives First-Time Home Buyers Below Market Mortgages and Lower Closing Costs

SAN JOSE, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 11, 2005 -- Meriwest Mortgage has partnered with the California Housing Finance Agency to offer first-time home buyers below market mortgages, lower closing costs and possible financing subsidies through a buyer assistance program.

CalHFA assists low and moderate-income home buyers in the realization of their goal of home ownership in California. CalHFA offers below market interest rate, 30 year fixed loans to first-time home buyers who meet the income and sales price limits for the county in which they wish to purchase.

--  For example, this program will assist first-time home buyers in Santa
    Clara County whose household income is less than $130,000, who could
    receive a mortgage rate of 4.5% (4.615% APR) compared to 5.75% (5.876%
    APR), saving them over $3,500 per year in interest based on a loan of
    $400,000. CalHFA also offers down payment assistance programs and programs
    to help with closing costs. Plus, these programs can be combined with the
    first mortgage programs. A list of these and other programs can be found at
    www.calhfa.ca.gov/homeownership/programs/
    
The following are requirements to be eligible for the Buyer Assistance program:
--  Have an annual household/family income that does not exceed income
    limits for the family size and county in which the home is located
--  Property must be owner-occupied for the term of the loan or until sold
--  Meet credit, income and loan requirements of the CalHFA lender and the
    mortgage insurer
--  Be a citizen or other national of the United States or a qualified
    alien as defined by federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity
    Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA)
    
"The goal of this program is to help first-time homebuyers own a home in a market where otherwise homeownership would be difficult, " said Jack Buckman, President of Meriwest Mortgage. "We hope that this program will make homeownership a reality for a greater segment of our community."

About Meriwest Mortgage

Meriwest Mortgage is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Meriwest Credit Union, one of Silicon Valley's largest and established financial institutions. Meriwest Mortgage provides an array of real estate loan programs with an excellent service oriented staff. Meriwest Mortgage has helped thousands of consumers purchase homes. More information can be found at www.meriwestmortgage.com.

About CalHFA

For 30 years, California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) has supported the needs of renters and first-time homebuyers by providing financing and programs that create safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities for individuals within specified income ranges. Established in 1975, CalHFA was chartered as the State's affordable housing bank to make below market-rate loans through the sale of tax-exempt bonds. A completely self-supporting State agency, bonds are repaid by revenues generated through mortgage loans, not taxpayer dollars.

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