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VHFA News

Posted by: admin on March 22, 2005 - 8:47am

BURLINGTON—More Vermonters are able to take part in Vermont Housing Finance Agency's low-interest mortgage programs now that VHFA’s Board of Commissioners has approved new income and purchase price limits. “VHFA is constantly working to give Vermonters more options when it comes to purchasing homes,” according to Executive Director Sarah Carpenter. “These changes reflect those efforts, as well as the perpetually rising housing costs in Vermont. “With the new limits, many more Vermonters and Vermont properties have become eligible for VHFA financing. These changes will help more Vermonters realize the dream of homeownership,” she added, “but, for many, homeownership will remain a challenge, because the state’s housing stock hasn’t kept up with demand.” Income and purchase price limits vary by county and help determine which homebuyers and properties are eligible for VHFA financing. Income limits are ceilings on what households can earn and still qualify for VHFA mortgages; purchase price limits are the maximum price a home can sell for and still be eligible for VHFA financing. VHFA raised the limits on March 22. While each county’s limits are unique, the maximum eligible purchase price for existing homes rose by $10,000 or more in 10 counties, with similar effects for newly constructed homes. Current limits are available at www.vhfa.org, or by contacting a participating VHFA lender. A complete list of lenders is available at the Web site. VHFA offers a variety of mortgage loan programs. The Agency’s 30-year 0-point interest rate is currently 5.30%. For buyers who need cash for downpayment and/or closing costs, VHFA offers a cash assistance rate option at a slightly higher rate. All rates are subject to change. VHFA was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1974 to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped more than 25,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of almost 7,000 affordable rental units.

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Posted by: admin on December 9, 2004 - 3:53am

BURLINGTON—Vermont’s Queen City area might be one of the most livable in America, but it’s also an increasingly expensive one, especially for housing. New figures from ACCRA, a community and economic development research association, released today by the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Housing Finance Agency, show that the cost-of-living in the Burlington area — Burlington, South Burlington, Winooski and Colchester — for the third quarter of 2004 was more than 17 percent above the national average. In the same period in 2003, the area’s composite index was 12.5 percent above the national average. In the third quarter 2004, Burlington was higher than the national average in every category, with the greatest deviation from the mean found in the cost of housing at 134.8%. The city’s utilities were at 117.8%; miscellaneous goods and services at 106.4%; transportation at 109.4%; and grocery items at 110.4 Chamber President A. Wayne Roberts identified housing as a key component of the organization’s efforts to attract and retain businesses and their employees to the area. “High housing costs are a challenge for those seeking to live and work in Greater Burlington,” he said. “For a lot of people relocating to our region, it means a choice between Burlington at 135% of the national average and Plattsburgh at 93%.” “Clearly, we’re still playing catch-up when it comes to providing an adequate supply of affordable housing, and that’s driving up costs,” said VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter. “We know this problem affects individual Vermonters, their families, our businesses and our economy as a whole. It boils down to a fundamental issue of costs versus wages. Vermonters are having trouble finding affordable housing.” According to the ACCRA data, the most expensive two-bedroom apartment in the nation is in New York City with an average monthly rent of $3,506. The least expensive is Hays, Kansas with an average monthly rent of $450. Burlington’s average monthly rent is $1,120. One silver lining in the ACCRA report is that the Burlington area’s housing costs are still lower than some other New England metro areas, such as New Haven, Conn. at 149.3%; Providence, R.I. at 168.3%; and Boston at 178.5%. Yet the Greater Burlington area’s housing costs rank above cities like Miami, Fla. at 127%; Hilton Head, S.C., at 110.3%; and Las Vegas, at 130.1%. The Lake Champlain Chamber has identified housing as an economic development priority for the 2005 legislative session, citing it, along with tax burdens, as a chief business competitiveness issue. VHFA offers low-interest mortgages for qualified homebuyers and provides funding and administers state and federal housing tax credits to encourage development of affordable rental units. Both organizations are members of the Vermont Housing Awareness Campaign, www.housingawareness.org, a state-wide public education effort to build support for housing development. The Lake Champlain Chamber is a participant in the nation-wide cost-of-living index, compiled by ACCRA. The ACCRA survey examines the after-tax cost of a professional/managerial standard of living for 324 urban areas. The quarterly index is available by subscription. Go online to www.costofliving.org for additional information. The cost of living data for the Burlington area was compiled by The Lake Champlain Chamber and Economic and Policy Resources of Williston. Data are available at www.vermont.org. Additional housing statistical information is available at the Vermont Housing Data Web site, www.housingdata.org

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Posted by: admin on October 28, 2004 - 3:25am

BURLINGTON—Vermont Housing Finance Agency announced its top mortgage loan originators for 2004. Top originators by county are: Michelle Shambo, Chittenden Bank, Addison County; Diana Leazer, The Bank of Bennington, Bennington County; Jeanne Boucher, New England Federal Credit Union, Chittenden County; Alan Fletcher, Banknorth Mortgage Group, Franklin County; Wanda Allaire, Union Bank, Lamoille County; Sue Laferriere, Union Bank Citizens Division, Orleans/Caledonia counties; Cheryl Fisher, Banknorth Mortgage Group, Rutland County; Lee Youngman, Community National Bank, Washington County; Judi Mills, Brattleboro Savings & Loan Association, Windham County; and Tony Bielarksi, Connecticut River Bank, NA, Windsor/Orange counties. "We're grateful to all our participating lenders for helping us provide loans to Vermonters who qualify for our products," said VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter. "Each year, we like to take the opportunity to give special thanks to those originators whose hard work has put them at the head of the class." VHFA has 31 participating lending institutions around the state that help homebuyers qualify for VHFA mortgage loans. VHFA has several home mortgage loan programs, all of which have income and purchase-price limits. A list of participating lenders and information about VHFA's programs and interest rates can be found on the Agency's website: www.vhfa.org. VHFA was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1974 to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped more than 25,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of almost 7,000 affordable rental units.

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Posted by: admin on October 21, 2004 - 3:44am

BURLINGTON—Sarah Carpenter, Executive Director of Vermont Housing Finance Agency, has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA). “I’m really excited about the chance to serve on NCSHA’s board,” Carpenter said. “It’s a great opportunity to help shape the agenda for our national association, and through that, to help influence housing policy nation-wide. Our experience here in Vermont gives me a lot of ideas to bring to the table. Vermont’s housing problems are shared by many other states, and it’s important that we make affordable housing development a priority at the federal level and across the country.” Carpenter’s election was announced at NCSHA’s annual conference in Chicago on Saturday. NCSHA’s 16 directors serve two-year terms. A Burlington native, Carpenter, joined VHFA as Executive Director in 1998. From 1983-1998, she served as the Executive Director of Cathedral Square Corporation. Under Carpenter's direction, Cathedral Square grew to be a nationally recognized leader in combining affordable housing and community services. Prior to her tenure at Cathedral Square, Carpenter held several positions with the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging. Carpenter holds a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science in social work from the University of Vermont, graduating cum laude. She has been the recipient of several awards, including the Vermont YWCA Susan B. Anthony Award and the National Organization on Disability Outstanding Contribution Award. — more — Carpenter has served on numerous voluntary boards. These include current appointments to the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), the Converse Home, Fletcher Allen Healthcare and Franklin Homestead Inc.; and previous membership on the national board of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Community Development Advisory Council, Housing Vermont, and the Vermont Alzheimer’s Association. Carpenter also serves on the Vermont Community Development Board and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. NCSHA is a non-profit organization serving as a trade and advocacy group for housing finance agencies nation-wide. More information about NCSHA is available on the Council’s website, www.ncsha.org. VHFA was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1974 to finance and promote the development of affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since it’s inception, VHFA has helped almost 25,000 households with affordable mortgages and financed the creation of nearly 7,000 affordable rental units. More information about VHFA and its programs is available on the Agency website, www.vhfa.org.

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Posted by: admin on September 28, 2004 - 10:48am

BURLINGTON, VT  Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) Executive Director Sarah Carpenter announced today the hiring of Brandiann Russin as Outreach Coordinator. Russin is the primary outreach and marketing representative for VHFA’s Homeownership Department. She promotes VHFA’s homeownership programs in Vermont through training and marketing with mortgage lenders, real estate professionals, homebuilder organizations, non-profit organizations and consumers. Before joining VHFA, Russin worked in accounts payable as an Office Assistant at MorrisSwitzer Environments for Health in Williston. Before that she was Mortgage Processor/Team Leader at Homebound Mortgage Inc. in Colchester, and a Financial Assistant in the Trust Department of Banknorth Investment Management Group Inc. in Burlington. Russin holds an Associates of Science earned in 2001 at the New England School of Communications in Bangor, Maine. VHFA is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2004. It recently passed the $2 billion bonding mark in August. The Vermont Legislature established VHFA on April 11, 1974, to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped almost 25,000 households with affordable mortgages and nearly 7,000 families into affordable rental units.

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