Tester backs cost-saving bill to ensure affordable home loans in rural communities

Measure extends life of successful USDA loans

(GREAT FALLS, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester is helping lead an effort to save taxpayer money and extend the life of a successful initiative to ensure affordable home loans in rural and frontier communities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently provides loan guarantees to lenders who offer 30-year fixed rate mortgages with no down payment requirement to qualified home buyers in rural communities.  The effort has successfully helped rural communities from losing more of their populations to urban areas.

The USDA loans—which helped sustain real estate sales across rural America during the economic downturn—have proved so successful that funding is set to run out this spring.

Tester is helping lead a bipartisan effort to restructure the fees charged to home buyers to make the initiative self-sustaining and save more taxpayer money.  The proposed changes would have a negligible effect on home owners but would save taxpayers $24 million this year alone.

“One of the toughest parts of my job is to make folks in Washington understand the unique challenges in rural America,” said Tester, a third-generation farmer from Big Sandy.  “This is a common sense plan to ensure affordable home loans in rural communities while saving taxpayer money instead of breaking the bank.”

Rural home buyers in Montana have secured nearly 700 loans through the initiative this year.  Nearly 1,000 such loans were made to Montanans in the previous year.

Organizations supporting the bipartisan legislation include:

  • The National Rural Housing Council
  • The Housing Assistance Council
  • The National Housing Conference
  • The Rural Community Assistance Partnership
  • The Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises
  • The Mortgage Bankers Association
  • The National Association of Realtors

The bill—formally known as the Rural Housing Preservation and Stabilization Act—is available on Tester’s website HERE.