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Wednesday, February 5, 2014


The Farm Bill approved by the Senate yesterday and the House last week includes a provision that will enable millions of Americans to maintain access to rural housing program loans.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) redraws its maps defining rural areas following every census, and the maps drawn after the 2010 census would have removed some communities from the program due to population growth. According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), however, the farm bill includes language that grandfathers current communities through the 2020 census. It also increases the population threshold for existing communities to 35,000 from 25,000 until after the 2020 U.S. census.

The Rural Housing Section 502 loan program (RHS) can be used to build, repair, renovate or relocate a home, or to purchase and prepare sites, including providing water and sewage facilities.

The loans are funded by private lenders, and simply insured by the RHS. The Section 502 program is self-funded and budget neutral, meaning that broadening the population definition doesn’t place an additional financial burden on taxpayers, according to NAR.

For more information on the Section 502 program in Florida, visit the USDA’s website.

The USDA also offers a webpage that identifies whether a property qualifies for a Section 502 loan.

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