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THE ORLANDO SENTINEL
Extended-Family Mortgage Debuts
By Jack Snyder
September 29, 2003
Central Florida becomes the testing ground today for a new type of mortgage designed to help multigenerational households buy a home.
The special home loans, backed by mortgage giant Fannie Mae, will be tailored for families with three or more generations living under the same roof.
Such extended households are on the rise, especially among Hispanic and Asian families, said Judith Kovisars, director of Fannie Mae's Central Florida Partnership Office in Orlando.
According to the 2000 census, about 4 percent of all U.S. households -- or nearly 4 million -- are multigenerational.
The pilot program was the idea of Nancy Sharifi, a Fannie Mae employee in the Orlando office.
"Her home is a multigenerational household," Kovisars said, because Sharifi's husband's parents live with them.
Sharifi, born in Puerto Rico, is married to a native of the Middle East. She said as many as four languages can be heard in her home at any given time.
For now, the new program -- which has special underwriting guidelines -- is limited to 13 Central Florida counties and available only through CTX Mortgage, a division of Centex Homes, a large U.S. home builder.
But Kovisars is optimistic that Fannie Mae will expand the "Seniors and Family Together" program across the country once it's tested here.
Nancy Baxley, a CTX Mortgage division vice president, said the growing number of buyers with multigenerational households has created demand for a special type of home loan.
Many builders and developers are offering floor plans with extra space to accommodate elderly parents or grown children and grandchildren within a home, said Tom Lagomarsino, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Metro Orlando.
Special features of the mortgage include:
*Income from extended-family members -- such as Social Security, pensions or disability payments -- can be counted when qualifying for the loan. Yet the extended-family members are not liable for the note's repayment.
*Borrowers without a conventional credit record -- a problem for many immigrants and minorities -- can submit unconventional financial records as proof they are creditworthy, such as a history of paying utility and telephone bills on time.
*No minimum down payment is required when buying a single-family home. Buyers must come up only with a minimum of $500 toward closing costs. The balance can come from other sources, such as the home builder or a home-buying-assistance program.
Households with incomes up to $69,550 are eligible for the program.
The program was to debut today at the local home builders' headquarters in Maitland.
U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Oviedo, and officials from Centex and CTX Mortgage were expected to participate.
Counties included in the pilot program are Brevard, Citrus, Hillsborough, Lake, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia.
Those seeking more information about the program can call CTX Mortgage at 407-661-2100.
Information about other Fannie Mae home-mortgage programs can be obtained by calling, toll-free, 1-800-732-6643.