Hawaii gov signs legislation to bring homeownership within reach for more island families
HONOLULU — Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Friday signed Senate Bill 1025 to make homeownership more accessible to Hawaii households by updating the Hula Mae Single Family Mortgage Loan Program and broadening eligibility.
“This bill will make owning a home more than just a dream for many island families,” said Gov. Abercrombie, who also took the opportunity to proclaim June as Homeownership Month in Hawaii. “Homeownership strengthens families and builds communities. It also fosters economic prosperity and generates economic growth, which benefits us all.”
Part of the Governor’s legislative package, SB1025 (enacted as Act 135) updates the Hula Mae Single Family Mortgage Loan Program to allow broader program participation by potential single family homeowners, especially for eligible borrowers’ principal residences. It also adds down payment, closing cost and other assistance as a program feature and makes various housekeeping and conforming amendments. The act is effective July 1, 2013.
In 1979, the state Legislature authorized the Hawaii Housing Authority to fund the mortgage loan program to assist low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Since then, the Legislature has authorized the issuance of revenue bonds in an aggregate principal amount of $2.2 billion to fund this program. As of June 30, 2012, $1.8 billion in single family mortgage purchase revenue bonds have been issued, providing eligible first-time homebuyers with mortgage loans at below market interest rates. Also since then, the Hula Mae Single Family Program has helped more than 10,000 families purchase first homes.
The Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation now administers the program. Homebuyers apply directly with participating lending institutions, which review eligibility and qualifications for a Hula Mae loan. Loans currently made under the program are securitized by the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Government National Mortgage Association, or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.
Held in conjunction with National Homeownership Month, Homeownership Month in Hawaii highlights the personal and societal benefits of owning a home, as well as recognizes public, private and non-profit partners that contribute to providing homeownership opportunities and ensuring long-term viability of homeownership for island families.
These agencies and entities in Hawaii include the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation; Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Hawaii Association of Realtors; the Land Use Research Foundation representing housing developers throughout the state; financial institutions; and non-profits such as the Hawaii HomeOwnership Center, Hawaiian Community Assets, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hawaii, Habitat for Humanity, and Self-Help Housing Corporation of Hawaii.