- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 27, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Several new loan programs in a $10 billion investment plan will allow more Northern Virginia families to buy their own homes, housing officials said yesterday.
Fannie Mae, which helps provide mortgage money, said the goal is to provide more homeownership and rental options for 75,000 families in Fairfax County and Alexandria.
"Employers say congestion, commuting and lack of affordable housing is hurting recruitment and retention," said David Jeffers, director of Fannie Mae's Northern Virginia Partnership Office. "This is no longer a housing issue. Our quality of life is at stake."
Some Fairfax families will be able to put their Section 8 rental vouchers for low-income housing toward a mortgage. Fannie Mae the Federal National Mortgage Association has identified families for this program and hopes to have them in their own homes by this summer.
Another program will provide loans in areas of Fairfax designated for revitalization, including Baileys Crossroads, Richmond Highway and central Springfield. Families earning less than $55,000 which is 60 percent of the area's median income of $91,500 can qualify for Virginia Housing Development Authority funds. Those earning more can receive mortgage assistance through Fannie Mae.
Twenty first-time home buyers in Alexandria will be able to obtain below-market-rate financing. Those who are employed by the school system or government also could qualify for special financing.
Katherine Hanley, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said the average price of a new single detached house in Fairfax County exceeds $500,000. "That is dramatic. It is almost unimaginable," she said.
Mr. Jeffers said that at a recent meeting with the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, a computer search for three-bedroom, two-bath homes in Fairfax County found only 12 priced at less than $250,000.
"It's going to take all of us working together to solve this problem," Mrs. Hanley said. "Government can't do it alone."


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