Rural Americans rely on programs like the 502 Rural Housing Loan Program to provide them with services that can be difficult to come by in some communities. Section 502 loans can be used to build, repair, renovate or relocate a home, or to purchase and prepare sites, including providing water and sewage facilities. There are two different programs: the guaranteed program, and the direct loan program. Guaranteed loans are funded by private lenders, and simply insured by the RHS. The Guaranteed loans are self-funded and budget neutral, meaning the fees paid for borrowers fully pay for the program, placing no burden on American taxpayers. Direct loans benefit very low income or low income borrowers with funds loaned directly by the Rural Housing Service, without the use of private lenders.
Public Law No: 114-201 - Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016
Regulatory Contact(s):Sehar Siddiqi
What is the fundamental issue?
Rural families face unique difficulties in finding access to safe, affordable mortgage financing. Programs like the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Housing Section 502 loan program are instrumental in providing opportunities for homeownership for these families. Section 502 loans can be used to build, repair, renovate or relocate a home, or to purchase and prepare sites, including providing water and sewage facilities. These loans are funded by private lenders, and simply insured by the USDA Rural Housing Service (RHS).
I am a real estate professional. What does this mean for my business?
Rural housing programs provide much needed affordable mortgage financing to unserved markets and are instrumental in providing affordable housing opportunities to low and moderate-income rural homebuyers.
NAR supports federal programs for home loans, rental development and rental assistance, including those of the RHS. Rural families face unique difficulties in finding access to safe, affordable mortgage financing, and affordable rental options in short supply in rural America. Fully funding the RHS’s programs is critical to the more than 17 million Americans living in rural communities. NAR believes communites with rural characteristics should maintain access to RHS programs.
On July 29, 2016, President Obama signed into law H.R.3700, the "Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act," which provides permanent authority for direct endorsement for approved lenders to approve Rural Housing Service loans. This Direct Endorsement approach is used by the FHA and VA mortgage programs, and will create great efficiencies for USDA and for homebuyers. NAR worked closely with Congress on this legislation, which passed the House and Senate unanimously. NAR is now working with USDA to implement this program.
Federal Financing and Housing Policy Committee