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Posted by: Mia Watson on 2/8/2018

Governor Phil Scott announced Thursday the successful sale by Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) of Vermont’s first Sustainability Bonds.  The bonds sale raised $37 million to fund the “Housing for All” initiative, the largest state investment in housing in several decades. Proceeds from the sale of the bonds will be awarded by the Vermont Housing Conservation Board (VHCB) for constructing and rehabilitating 550-650 homes statewide over the next two to three years. Vermont investors played a critical role in the success of the bond sale.

“As we work to create greater opportunity for Vermonters and attract more families to Vermont, decent housing Vermonters can afford is critical. The Housing for All initiative we passed last year is an important step toward addressing that need,” Governor Scott said. “We appreciate the hard work of our partners in ensuring a successful bond sale, and those individuals and institutions who chose to invest in Vermont communities.”  

VHFA and VHCB chose the Sustainability Bonds designation to allow institutions and individuals to invest directly in bonds that finance affordable housing, promote environmentally friendly development, stimulate economic growth, and revitalize Vermont communities. The bond sale, which closed on January 25th, was well-received on the market, with seven times more orders than available bonds. The sale raised $2 million more than originally anticipated. The bond sale attracted many Vermont investors, including People's United Bank and The Vermont State Employees Credit Union.

"We were very pleased to use our experience working with our financial partners and investors to maximize the funds raised for this important initiative," remarked VHFA's Executive Director Sarah Carpenter.

Proceeds from the sale will fund the Housing for All initiative to develop housing for the low- and moderate-income working Vermonters who often struggle to afford decent housing. Vermonters have similar incomes to the rest of the U.S., but median home prices in Vermont exceed the national level by $20,000.

VHCB will target proceeds from the bonds towards eligible projects that rehabilitate or construct affordable housing while conserving Vermont’s natural resources and history. VHCB will ensure that at least 25% of the housing will be affordable to very low-income households with incomes below 50% of the area median and at least 25% to households with incomes between 80% and 120% of the area median. Median income in Vermont in 2017 was $69,300 for a family of four, according to estimates from the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development.

“The bond sale exceeded expectations due to the VHFA’s hard work, the support of the Legislature and commitment of the Scott administration,” said Gus Seelig, Executive Director of VHCB. “The $37 million is already creating more homes for workers and housing for vulnerable Vermonters in communities across the state.  We are reviewing a stream of applications and encourage those with potential projects to contact us soon.”

Posted by: Will White on 2/7/2018

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Community Development Advance (CDA) program offers members an excellent way to support economic development and affordable housing in their communities.

FHLB Boston offers free, one-hour webinars to help you learn more about how the CDA can help grow your business. Topics include financing options, eligibility criteria, online application navigation tips, and eligibility reporting data requirements. You can ask as many questions as you like during this live presentation, all without leaving your office.

Register now for one of the three upcoming webinars:

Wednesday, March 21

Tuesday, June 26

Tuesday, September 18

Each webinar runs from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar.

If you have any questions, please contact Paulette Vass at paulette.vass@fhlbboston.com or 617-292-9792. 

Posted by: Heather Kvasnak on 2/5/2018

Buying a home is a complex process and often one of the largest financial investments made by a consumer in their lifetime.  Homebuyer education provides consumers with valuable insight and tools to better navigate the home purchase process.  The Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) requires homebuyer education and counseling for all consumers obtaining a VHFA loan to ensure that every consumer is well-informed and prepared for homeownership.

VHFA proudly partners with both the local non-profit NeighborWorks Homeownership Centers here in Vermont and eHome America to provide homebuyer education and counseling.  The Homeownership Centers, Champlain Housing Trust, RuralEdge, Downstreet, Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont all provide valuable financial readiness services within our communities to equip consumers with a blueprint to realize the dream of homeownership.  eHome America hosts the online education course for VHFA and the Homeownership Centers, online enrollment can be access here: https://www.vhfa.org/homebuyers/education.

A new homeowner recently shared, "My kids and I were looking for a new start on life and it could not have been possible without all the hard work from the people at RuralEdge...We have a place to call our own now because of our hard work, dedication and guidance we received."

Completing homebuyer education early in the home buying process allows consumers to put what is learned to practical use from the onset:

  • Calculate how much how you can afford
  • Mortgage and home buying terminology
  • Home buying process and key milestones, like when a purchase and sale agreement is signed, when a home inspection occurs and what is a lender appraisal
  • Introduces budget planning resources to use once you are a homeowner

Consumers have the option of selecting an online or in-person course.  Online course enrollment can be accessed at https://www.vhfa.org/homebuyers/education.  In-person course schedules and enrollment are available by directly contacting one of the Homeownership Centers.

Learn more about homebuyer education today by visiting https://www.vhfa.org/homebuyers/education or exploring the education opportunities with the NeighborWorks Homeownership Centers located in Vermont:

Posted by: Heather Kvasnak on 1/30/2018

The Vermont Bankers Association (VBA)  is hosting the 2nd Annual Women in Leadership Conference on Wednesday March 7, 2018 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel & Conference Center in Montpelier.  VHFA is a proud sponsor of this event that is open to men, women and all levels of staff at any VBA member institution.

The conference provides an opportunity for all VBA member participants to network with colleagues and business leaders as well as learn about emerging industry topics. 

To learn more or register for this event please access additional details here.

Posted by: Mia Watson on 1/25/2018

The Vermont Mayors Coalition (VMC) met at the State House yesterday to announce their legislative priorities for 2018. One of their primary goals was to increase the availability and quality of affordable housing.  To that end, VMC supports a $125,000 tax credit increase for the Vermont Down Payment Assistance Program, which is administered by Vermont Housing Finance Agency.

The Vermont Down Payment Assistance Program was established by the Legislature in 2015. The program is funded investors in the Vermont Affordable Housing Tax Credit. The program provides first-time homebuyers with up to $5,000 in 0% interest loans to help with down payment and closing costs. Although the program has been very successful in lowering barriers to homeownership, demand for the program has exceeded initial projections. To meet this need, VMC has recommend an increase of $125,000 in State housing tax credits.

“Continued investments in housing and economic development will ensure we are a state where our residents love to live, our businesses are able to grow, and our communities thrive,” said Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard.

Vermont mayors’ attention to housing mirrors concerns of mayors nationwide, the majority of whom rated the price of housing as the main driver of people out of their cities.

Other housing recommendations from VMC include a $250,000 increase in downtown and village center tax credits to fund rehabilitation of downtown buildings and a $625,000 Homeowner Tax Credit pilot program to improve the quality and quantity of housing in and around downtowns and village centers.