Have you dreamed of owning your own home? The Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority has several programs that can help make your dream a reality. Since 1984, the VIHFA has assisted many low to moderate Virgin Islands families to become first-time homeowners.
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First-Time Homebuyers Program
An appropriation of $4 million from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund was made to the Homestead and Home Loan Fund at VI Housing Finance Authority to assist prospective homebuyers as outlined below.
The First-Time Home Buyers Program provides mortgage assistance to moderate income, first-time home buyers:
- to purchase a single-family house, including but not limited to a prefabricated house or manufactured house or
any other housing structure that meets the current building code
- to construct, improve, alter, repair, or rehabilitate a single-family home including cisterns, foundation slabs or
retaining walls including block and/or wire fencing
- to acquire land for the purpose of building a single-family home
Primary or secondary financing is available to qualified buyers. The primary residence must be a single-family home. All transactions are in the form of a loan not a grant.
Types of Financing Available
- Maximum loan amount $50,000
- Fixed rate with a term of 10 years
- Land cannot exceed one half (½) acre
Home (Purchase or Construction)
- Maximum loan amount of $250,000
- Fixed rate with a term of 30 years
- Maximum loan amount of $40,000
- Low fixed rate with a 10-year term
The Authority’s eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to the determination of:
- First-Time Home Buyer status – Client must not have legal interest in real estate within the last 3 years.
- Marital status – If married, both individuals must be on the application for homeownership.
- Residency status – Must be a resident of the US Virgin Islands for the last three (3) consecutive years as evidenced by tax filings with VI Bureau of Internal Revenue.
- Household income eligibility – Minimum and maximum household income requirements for all working occupants of the household are considered. For moderate income wage earners, the income requirements are as follows:
- Minimum household income as of June 2022
St. Croix $53,101
St. John $79,301
St. Thomas $58,401
- Maximum household income as of June 2022
St. Croix $216,300
St. John $260,750
St. Thomas $242,900
5. Credit score – Must have a minimum credit score of 620. Individuals who qualify for a Rural Development Loan or a Veterans Administration Loan are not eligible for programs administered through the Homestead and Home Loan Fund. The Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority shall receive applications for loans not more than $250,000 to any one person or family residing in the same house.
The HOME Program was created by the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990. The purpose of the HOME Program is to expand the supply of decent, safe, affordable housing for very-low and low-income families through the provision of grants to states and local governments. HOME is a formula allocation grant under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The VIHFA administers the program locally. The primary activity under the VIHFA’s HOME Program is financial assistance to first-time home buyers.
Eligible families can qualify for low-interest loans and grants to help purchase or build a home. The assistance may be used to “buy down” the mortgage to an affordable level. HOME funds may also be used to help finance the down payment and closing costs associated with acquiring a home. HOME Program assistance can be as gap financing in conjunction with primary financing provided by USDA Rural Development, local lending institutions, Government Employees’ Retirement System (GERS), or any of the VIHFA’s Mortgage Programs. Since 1995, the HOME Program has assisted more than 500 families in the Virgin Islands to become first-time homeowners.
Applications are available at VIHFA’s offices on St. Thomas and St. Croix. Primary lenders may also forward referrals for assistance directly to the HOME Program.
- Single persons, couples, and families with children are all eligible to apply
- Applicants for homebuyer assistance must be a first-time homebuyer
- Applicants for rehabilitation assistance must own and occupy the home as a primary residence
- The household’s gross annual income must fall within the HOME income limits published annually by HUD.
- HOME funds can be used to assist with the purchase of either new or existing homes as well as to subsidize the cost of new construction. There are certain federally-
prescribed limits relative to the maximum property value (at purchase or after rehab) and also the maximum subsidy that can be provided.
- The assisted property must be a single-family unit (certain condominium and town house units also are also eligible)
- The assisted property must meet certain minimum housing quality standards prior to occupancy
- Properties which require rehabilitation order to come into compliance with VIHFA housing quality standards can be assisted. The cost of rehabilitation is included as
an eligible HOME Program cost.
For more information or questions regarding the HOME Program, please contact Mrs. Shaneka Pennyfeather-Armstrong, HOME Program Coordinator at (340) 772-4432 ext. 3238.