Idaho Housing increases loan limits

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With inventory tight in the lower end of the housing market there comes new hope for those who can qualify for an approved loan underwritten by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. Both the income level and allowable purchase price of a home in the North Idaho Panhandle region have increased which will allow some to get help in buying a pricier home.

For many programs the income limit for Kootenai County is now $90,000 annually with a home cost limit of $312,300. If you are a one- or two-person household that income limit lowers to $73,680 or $85,960 for three of more in the family wanting to use a first-time loan, a tax credit/Mortgage Credit Certificate loan or an FHA loan with a second mortgage to cover the down payment. All other IHFA loans are allowed for folks making up to $90,000 in income.

An MCC is an on-going federal tax credit that can continue year after year for as long as you retain the loan and occupy the home as your primary residence. The amount of the MCC tax credit is based on a percentage of the amount of mortgage interest you pay on the first mortgage loan. The exact percentage of first mortgage interest you can claim is determined by Idaho Housing. According to the website “First Home Advisor” to qualify and to claim the MCC tax credit, the borrower or co-borrowers typically must:

• Be a first-time buyer (unless purchasing in a designated target area)

• Meet the applicable income limits adjusted for household size and county

• Purchase an eligible home that meets the purchase price limits

• Purchase a property in the MCC administrator’s program area

• Continue to occupy the home as their primary residence

• Must correctly claim the mortgage credit certificate on their federal tax return each tax year

It is interesting to note that in all of North Idaho, Bonner, Benewah, Boundary and Shoshone counties, even those who have owned a home within the last three years are able to utilize this program. North Idaho is a target area and IHFA wants to encourage home ownership here.

National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun recently stated, “The simplest math shouldn’t be overlooked. A vast majority of homebuyers take out a 30-year fixed rate mortgage to make a home purchase. After 30 years, there is no mortgage payment (nor rent payment). So the home price growth over that time period would be the equity that the homebuyer would have accumulated.”

According to research done by the NAR the majority of Americans do aspire to be homeowners and the home ownership rate increases significantly through age. For example, the home ownership rate among households under the age of 35 is 35 percent, but by the time people reach their prime-earning years of 45 to 55, nearly three-fourths are homeowners. By retirement, nearly 80 percent are homeowners. Consequently, homeowners accumulate significantly more wealth in their lifetime than those who rent.

Of course we are in favor of anything that encourages home ownership. These new income and loan limits will do just that, particularly in North Idaho where there are fewer restrictions.


Trust an expert…call a Realtor. Call your Realtor or visit to search properties on the Multiple Listing Service or to find a Realtor member who will represent your best interests.

Kim Cooper is a real estate broker and the spokesman for the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors. Kim and the association invite your feedback and input for this column. You may contact them by writing to the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors, 409 W. Neider, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815 or by calling (208) 667-0664.

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