First Time Homebuyer Program Touted by Freeholders
Toms River–Ocean County officials anticipate helping 20 additional county families purchase their first homes this year under the Ocean County First-Time Homebuyer Program.
“We have administered this program in Ocean County since 1994 and as a result have helped 430 families purchase their first homes,” said Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the program. “This Board of Freeholders, with its community partners, is helping moms and dads and their children take that big step of purchasing their first home.”
The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently renewed its contract with O.C.E.A.N. Inc., the anti-poverty agency, to oversee the program for 2012.
“O.C.E.A.N. Inc. under the direction of Ted Gooding, has done a great job in administering this program, meeting the federal and county program requirements,” Little said. “OCEAN Inc. has served as the First Time Homebuyer Program administrator and consultant since 1997.”
Under the contract, O.C.E.A.N. Inc. will administer $195,000 in federal HOME funds that will be used for down payments and closing cost assistance toward the purchase of a home for low and moderate income families.
“We anticipate 20 applicants will be able to settle into their first home under this program in fiscal year 2012,” Little said. “Moving into that first home is such an important achievement that comes with a strong sense of security for the family. Even in a struggling economy we want our citizens to be able to obtain the American Dream and this program has provided that ability to them.”
In order to apply, an applicant must have a three percent down payment with one and a half percent from their own funds, and meet the following criteria: good credit rating, sufficient income to support mortgage payments, and their income must not exceed the HUD income limit set for the Ocean County region.
“This program helps first time homeowners learn the ins and outs of homeownership,” Little said. “The potential buyers are schooled in budgeting and finances and all those details needed to be a successful homeowner. There is a very valuable educational component that comes along with this program.”
A total of $3,637,540 in HOME Investment Partnership funding has been allocated to the First-Time Homebuyers Program in Ocean County since 1994. Homes purchased have a total real estate value of $61.6 million and the average home price closed within the last 18 months is $154,438.
“This program illustrates the importance of partnerships among public and private agencies here in Ocean County,” Little said. “O.C.E.A.N. Inc., six lending institutions and Ocean County have all joined together in making homeownership a reality. The end result of this program is priceless.”
For more information on the program contact O.C.E.A.N. Inc. at 732-244-2351, Ext. 21.