This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

UB Foundation increases funds for home loan program

Published: June 7, 2007

Reporter Staff Writer

More UB faculty and staff members will be able to buy homes in the neighborhoods around the South Campus, thanks to a major, multimillion-dollar boost to the UB Home Loan Guaranty Program by the UB Foundation (UBF).

UBF has increased the total funds available to guarantee home loans for university employees under the program from $1.5 million to $5 million. Eligible faculty and staff members can finance up to 120 percent of the purchase price of a home, including renovations and closing costs, without a down payment or private mortgage insurance.

One particular advantage of the program is that there is no requirement for private mortgage insurance, which enables home-buyers to afford a larger house or save cash, as well as provide the option of refinancing an existing mortgage loan.

Homes that fall within the area bounded by Kenmore Avenue, Main Street and Winspear Avenue on the north; Eggert Road on the east; East Amherst Street, Bailey, Berkshire, Westminster and Hewitt on the south; and Main Street and the former Conrail line on the west are eligible for the UB Home Loan Guaranty Program.

In addition to increasing the total funds available for home loans, the expansion of the program adds regional lending institutions Greater Buffalo Savings Bank, First Niagara Bank and Devere Mortgage Corp. to the program's previous mortgage partners, M&T Bank and HSBC.

The participation of these new institutions signals local lenders' rising confidence in the program as it enters its second phase and earns a reputation of success in the community; all five institutions agreed to use their considerable resources to attract more participants.

The program is designed to stabilize neighborhoods around the South Campus by encouraging UB employees to purchase homes in the area.

Increasing home purchases through the program over the next five years is a major goal, says Vincent Clark, UB director of community relations. "UB wants to help stimulate interest in these neighborhoods. This program is a tool the university is using to build a great community."

Although the program is only available to UB employees, the benefits of encouraging home ownership flow into the wider community through increased real estate values, Clark adds.

The 15 UB employees who have used the program to purchase homes around the South Campus since 2003 illustrate that the project already is fulfilling its promise to provide individuals and families a clear path to home ownership in the university community. One participant reports that homes on his street are being "snatched" off the market, compared to several years ago, as residents spread the word about the area's well-built homes, tree-lined streets and pocket parks.

David Benders, program director at WBFO-FM, UB's National Public Radio affiliate, was one of the first home-buyers through the Home Loan Guaranty Program.

"I'm a lifelong Buffalonian and a longtime UB employee, so I believe in the neighborhood," he says. "We've got college students, some older home-owners, and some young families with kids. When I go to work, I see the kids standing on the street corner waiting for the school bus. That's what a neighborhood means to me."

Clark notes that permanent residents create a secure atmosphere around the South Campus that benefits both the university and community. Through the UB Home Loan Guaranty Program, UB "is investing in its host neighborhood," says Clark.

For more information about the program, click here.