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Bill introduced to help put buyers into homes

Proposal would fill lending gap and help fix homes in dire need of repair, supporters say

Posted: May 10, 2013 6:21 p.m.
Updated: May 10, 2013 6:21 p.m.

Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, announced new legislation Friday intended to help investors secure loans to fix up derelict homes and put them on the market.

The bill is intended to help revitalize communities, particularly those hardest hit in the foreclosure crisis, McKeon and the bill supporters said.

If passed, McKeon’s Communities Achieving Sustainability Act will allow people to buy homes using 203k Housing and Urban Development loans, repair them, and sell them to buyers who will occupy them.

At a news conference Friday at the Santa Clarita Valley division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors in Canyon Country, McKeon briefly discussed the bill and was followed by several Realtors and realty organizations who endorsed it.

Currently, many investors have cash to buy homes outright, but they rent them out, reducing the number of homes available for sale.

If passed, the act is expected to especially help those neighborhoods affected by blight where a large number of homes stand vacant and neglected, supporters said.

The goal is to fix and sell vacant homes, getting them into the hands of families to buy and live in.

The bill would help non-traditional investors, said Bob Khalsa, president of the local association of Realtors. The 203k loans fill a gap between FHA loans, which require very little down but won’t qualify on homes in serious disrepair, and conventional loans, for which large down payments are required, he said.

The bill creates home ownership opportunities, said Fred Kreger, president of the California Association of Mortgage professionals.

“In the Antelope Valley, outlying areas could really use this bill,” said Dave Slover of the Greater Antelope Valley Association of Realtors.

Due to low inventory, a lot of first-time buyers can’t get a home, Slover said. The Santa Clarita Valley does not suffer from blighted neighborhoods full of rundown homes, Realtors said, but there are individual homes in need of major repairs before they can be put on the market.

Under the plan, borrowers may buy up to four dwellings per year, and must plan to live in the homes they are repairing.

If the bill passes, McKeon believes it can help build on the recovering economy by creating a more vibrant housing market.



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