Bryan Introduces New Home Loan Program for Moderate-Income Virgin Islands Residents
Surrounded by four local bank managers, Gov. Albert Bryan on Thursday launched a program – VI Slice Moderate Income Homeownership Program – to help three-year-old residents buy their first home.
The program will be managed by the banks which will provide the first mortgages. Second mortgages or gap loans will be dispersed by the VI Economic Development Authority to complete the purchase of the property. Participating banks are Bank of St. Croix, Banco Popular, First Bank, Oriental Bank and Merchants Bank.
The program is designed for moderate-income residents who are buying their first home in three years. Maximum family income for St. Thomas borrowers is $242,000, St. John residents cannot earn more than $260,000 per year and for St. Croix joint income cannot exceed $216,000 .
The first step is to qualify for a first mortgage, then apply for the VI Slice, which converts to a grant as long as the buyer lives in the home for at least 10 years. If the buyer leaves in less than 10 years, he must repay the full amount. The home buyer must have at least $5,000 for down payment which can be waived for veterans with a certificate of eligibility or an honorable discharge.
Bryan hopes the program will increase the number of homeowners in the territory.
“If you’re ready to have a home, let’s go,” he said.
Residents can request up to $200,000, but Bryan hopes most are requesting $100,000 so that the $20 million in federal funds goes further to help more residents.
Wayne Biggs, Managing Director of VIEDA, explained how the VI Slice loan can be used. First-time buyers who qualify for a mortgage loan will be eligible for a spread loan or second mortgage loan for several types of homes, including the purchase of a new home:
– Single-family or multi-family homes with the intention of rehabilitating, but no more than three dwellings on the original site.
– Funding can be used for the construction of new homes and can include the cost of land, building materials, and manufactured or modular homes. Funding will be limited to a maximum of two residences at the host site.
– Down payment and closing costs up to 20% for financing in the form of a grant or interest-free second mortgage to help obtain a bank loan.
– Gap financing to help “bridge” the gap between the overall project and the amount secured by the primary lender.
The program has built-in restrictions to ensure the property is a primary residence and not a vacation rental or Airbnb. It also limits how the property can include a rental unit as part of the principal residence.
All applicants must complete an online VI Housing Finance Authority program, Bryan said.
For more information, contact VIEDA at 340-714-1700 or Sainte-Croix at 340-772-6499.