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Government loans offered to first-time home buyers

The government has $2.5-million to lend at low interest rates to first-time home buyers who qualify. To qualify for the 30-year, 7.85 percent fixed-rate loan, applicants must never have owned a home or had an ownership interest in a home in the last three years.

Households with one to two people can make no more than $35,900. The limit for a household of three or more people is $41,285.

The maximum cost of a house to be bought under the plan can be no greater than $77,760 for an existing home or $89,136 for a new home.

Pinellas County is administering the federal loan program through McCaughan Mortgage. The money will be loaned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applicants must bring an executed real estate contract for the property they are trying to buy, an application fee (up to $300) that covers the cost of the appraisal and credit report, and proof of income, which could be a recent pay stub or a tax return if self-employed.

The county's Housing Finance Authority also is making available second mortgages of $1,500 for people with lower incomes to assist with the down payment and closing costs.

To qualify for the second-mortgage program, families must earn less than the following amounts:

One person household, $18,950; two people, $21,650; three people, $24,350; four people, $27,050; five people, $29,200; six people, $31,350; seven people, $33,550.

Prospective applicants are advised to call McCaughan Mortgage at 443-1570 to prequalify before making formal application, which requires an application fee.

They also can call Darlene J. Kalada at 462-4851 for information.