State Homeowner Programs Assist Market

Statewide sales of existing single-family homes in New York State rebounded to finish only 3.2-percent behind the 2008 total. According to single-family sales data compiled by the New York State Association of REALTORS, 77,176 homes were sold statewide during 2009—only about 2,500 fewer houses than in 2008, amid the recession. The 2009 annual statewide median sales price was $199,999, down 6.6 percent from a year ago due to the sluggish start to the year. However, both the fourth quarter 2009 ($210,000) and December 2009 ($222,000) posted median sales price growth. This is good news for our state. While many states are still experiencing record number foreclosures and plummeting home sale prices, New York weathered the housing market recession remarkably well by comparison. The NYS Association of REALTORS credits several factors for the 2009 rebound, including the federal first-time homebuyer tax credit, State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) home ownership programs, low mortgage rates and moderating prices. Housing experts say specifically, the SONYMA Tax Credit Advance Loan program helped buyers capitalize on the credit the federal government made available and together, motivated buyers. The credits are available until April 30. There are a number of programs available to qualifying buyers through the state program. Here are a few that folks who are thinking about buying a home should consider before signing a purchase offer:

  • Low Interest Rate Mortgage Program offers competitive interest rate mortgages to low- and moderate-income households. This program is available to first time home buyers in targeted areas.
  • Achieving the Dream Program provides lower interest rates to low-income, first-time home buyers with low downpayment mortgage financing on one and two family dwellings (including condominiums and cooperative apartments, as well as manufactured homes permanently attached to real property) at a low fixed interest rate.
  • The Construction Incentive Program allows qualified buyers to obtain financing for the purchase of newly constructed or rehabilitated one- and two-family homes.
  • The Remodel New York Program allows for the borrower to finance the cost of acquisition and renovation in one loan.
  • The Homes for Veterans Program allows qualified veterans to apply for any currently available SONYMA program with more favorable terms.
  • Down Payment Assistance Loans are available with every SONYMA program. Qualified borrowers may receive down payment assistance of $3,000 or 3% of the home sales price (but not to exceed $10,000), whichever is greater.
  • ENERGY STAR® Labeled Home buyers can apply for SONYMA programs with more favorable terms.
  • Tax Credit Advance Loans are also available with every SONYMA program as an alternative to a Down Payment Assistance Loan. The Tax Credit Advance Loan allows homebuyers take advantage of Federal homebuyer tax credit in their home purchase by advancing the full amount of the tax credit toward the purchase of a home. Qualified borrowers may use the loan for either down payment or closing cost assistance in an amount not to exceed the lower of 10 percent of purchase price or $8,000.
  • Mortgage Credit Certificates are available for use in conjunction with any other lenders' fixed-rate mortgage product. Qualified borrowers purchasing a home in a SONYMA Target Area can receive a dollar for dollar federal income tax credit equal to 20% of the borrower's mortgage interest costs.
  • SONYMA also offers mortgages to qualified borrowers purchasing a condominium or a cooperative apartment.
For more information on any of these programs, visit or call 1-800-382-HOME. Other state housing programs and economic development programs for municipalities and non-profits can be found at If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding this or any other state matter, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list, contact me by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, 13069, by e-mail at, or by phone at (315) 598-5185.