What does this program do?
Also known as the Section 502 Direct Loan Program, this program assists low- and very-low-income applicants obtain decent, safe and sanitary housing in eligible rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability. Payment assistance is a type of subsidy that reduces the mortgage payment for a short time. The amount of assistance is determined by the adjusted family income.
Who may apply for this program?
A number of factors are considered when determining an applicant’s eligibility for Single Family Direct Home Loans. At a minimum, applicants interested in obtaining a direct loan must have an adjusted income that is at or below the applicable low-income limit for the area where they wish to buy a house and they must demonstrate a willingness and ability to repay debt.
Be without decent, safe and sanitary housing
Be unable to obtain a loan from other resources on terms and conditions that can reasonably be expected to meet
Agree to occupy the property as your primary residence
Have the legal capacity to incur a loan obligation
Meet citizenship or eligible noncitizen requirements
Not be suspended or debarred from participation in federal programs
Properties financed with direct loan funds must:
Generally be 2,000 square feet or less
Not have market value in excess of the applicable area loan limit
Not have in-ground swimming pools
Not be designed for income producing activities
Borrowers are required to repay all or a portion of the payment subsidy received over the life of the loan when the title to the property transfers or the borrower is no longer living in the dwelling.
Applicants must meet income eligibility
for a direct loan. Please select your state from the dropdown menu above.
What is an eligible area?
How may funds be used?
Loan funds may be used to help low-income individuals or households purchase homes in rural areas. Funds can be used to build, repair, renovate or relocate a home, or to purchase and prepare sites, including providing water and sewage facilities.
How much may I borrow?
Using the Single Family Housing Direct Eligibility Assessment tool
, potential applicants may enter information online to determine if the Section 502 Direct Loan Program is a good fit for them prior to applying. The tool will provide a preliminary eligibility determination after a potential applicant enters information on their general household composition, monthly income, monthly debts, property location, estimated property taxes, and estimated hazard insurance. Potential applicants are welcome to submit a complete application for an official determination by USDA Rural Development (RD) regardless of the eligibility assessment results. Upon receipt of a complete application, RD will determine the applicant’s eligibility using verified information and the applicant’s maximum loan amount based on their repayment ability and the area loan limit
for the county in which the property is located.
What is the interest rate and payback period?
Fixed interest rate based on current market rates at loan approval or loan closing, whichever is lower
Interest rate when modified by payment assistance, can be as low as 1%
Up to 33 year payback period – 38 year payback period for very low income applicants who can’t afford the 33 year loan term
How much down payment is required?
No down payment is typically required. Applicants with assets higher than the asset limits may be required to use a portion of those assets.
Is there a deadline to apply?
Applications for this program are accepted through your local RD office
How long does an application take?
Processing times vary depending on funding availability and program demand in the area in which an applicant is interested in buying and completeness of the application package.
What governs this program?
Why does USDA Rural Development do this?
USDA Rural Development’s Section 502 Direct Loan Program provides a path to homeownership for low- and very-low-income families living in rural areas, and families who truly have no other way to make affordable homeownership a reality. Providing these affordable homeownership opportunities promotes prosperity, which in turn creates thriving communities and improves the quality of life in rural areas.
NOTE: Because citations and other information may be subject to change please always consult the program instructions listed in the section above titled “What Law Governs this Program?” You may also contact your local office