No community is complete without decent, affordable and fair housing.
Northampton County's DCED works with various agencies, programs, and governmental and private funders to help all of our residents improve their quality of life through housing. While we do not directly provide assistance to individuals, we support a number of programs designed to help those who need help, from our veterans who may become homeless to our seniors who are struggling to maintain their homes.
If you or someone you know needs help with housing issues, please see the tabs below.
If you are a provider or developer who wants to help create affordable housing solutions, please refer to the, "DCED Grant & Loan Programs," tab at the left side of this page for current and archived funding opportunities.
The Northampton County First-Time Homebuyer Program provides loans to eligible first-time buyers of Northampton County homes. These loans provide up to $5,000 to help with the cost of the house and closing costs. We secure the investment in our communities by placing a lien on the property for 5 years or until the property is sold. For each year you stay in your home, 20% of the loan is forgiven. The loan is completely forgiven if the homebuyer stays in the house for at least 5 years.
- There must be an Agreement of Sale to apply.
- You must obtain your primary mortgage from one of the partner financial institutions listed below in order to receive this loan. These institutions are local, have experience with the program, and have a strong record of meeting federal requirements for investment in our communities (CRA). The lender will determine your eligibility and will calculate the amount of the subordinated mortgage required to enable you to purchase the house. The lender will submit a copy of its calculations and your application to us for review.
- You must complete a HUD certified/affiliated Homebuyer Education Counseling Program from an accredited agency before closing. Links to these programs are provided below.
- Your annual household income cannot exceed 80% of the median income for the Lehigh Valley as determined by HUD. The limits are as follows:
2019 Family Size Maximum Annual Income Limits (adjusted annually per HUD Income Guidelines)
There is no limit on the price of the home you are purchasing, but the lender will determine if the primary mortgage and escrowed costs are within your ability to pay.
Homeowners should understand that they are purchasing a financial product when entering into a mortgage. Before taking this step, you are strongly encouraged to contact one of the Lehigh Valley's homeownership counseling agencies to ensure they understand the process and are purchasing the right product for your household.
Approved List of Homebuyer Education Agencies
Contact for information and upcoming classes:
Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley*
1337 East 5th Street
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18017
* Available in Spanish
Neighborhood Housing Services of the Lehigh Valley
239 North 10th Street
Allentown, Pennsylvania 18102
An updated listing of approved agencies throughout Pennsylvania is also available at the Department Of Housing and Urban Development
Approved Lending Partners
American Bank: 610-973-8117
ESSA Bank & Trust: 570-421-0531
Lafayette Ambassador Bank: 610-332-7125
BB&T Bank: 610-807-5891
Merchants Bank: 484-548-6084
Quaint Oak Mortgage: 610-351-9970
Caliber Home Loans: 484-635-2100
Finance of America Mortgage: 610-691-6015
Mortgage America: 610-439-8000
America Financial Network Inc.: 954-280-0083
Summit Mortgage: 484-240-9542
Atlantic Home Loans: 610-762-1011
United Solutions Mortgage Group: 484-232-5921
Parkway Financial: 610-421-8450
Freedom Mortgage: 855-690-5900
What Happens if I Need to Sell or Refinance?
If you live in your home for a period of five (5) years, the subordinated mortgage will be forgiven.
If you need to sell the home within the first five (5) years, the balance of the loan is due and payable in full at settlement (with 20% forgiven for each year of ownership).
If the homeowner refinances the original mortgage, the Northampton County mortgage may be subordinated to the new first mortgage. The Guidelines for this process are below.
Because this program is meant to help households with limited incomes achieve stable homeownership, the County must ensure that any subordination of its position will have a long-term benefit to the Borrower. Northampton County will subordinate its mortgages to a new primary lender under the following circumstances:
1. The borrower continues to own and occupy the premises as the borrower's primary residence; and2. The borrower will benefit by securing an interest rate at least 1% less than the existing rate on his or her first mortgage; and3. The new first mortgage is a conventional fixed rate mortgage with no balloon payments and no pre-payment penalty; and4. The borrower does not receive any cash out for any purpose, including but not limited to, home improvement loans, bill consolidation loans, lines of credit, future advances, personal loans, medical collections, other mortgages or encumbrances or liens; and5. Borrower is current with payment of property taxes.
The Northampton County DCED must receive the following to consider a request for subordination:
1. Written request from the borrower explaining the purpose for the request. The borrower's name, address and telephone number; lender's name, address, telephone and fax numbers; and the Closing Agent/Title Company contact person, address and telephone number.
2. Copy of Northampton County's existing recorded second mortgage.
3. Details of the loan being requested, including the Truth in Lending statement, first three (3) pages of the appraisal, the proposed mortgage documents and a copy of the Good Faith Estimate or Settlement Statement.
In addition to our program, there are other programs available through the state and federal government to help homebuyers. Ask one of the participating lenders for information. You can also see what programs are currently offered at:
Federal Home Loan Bank
PA Housing Finance Agency
Sarah Ortiz- Northampton County DCED - 610-829-6308 or firstname.lastname@example.org
RFP (Request for Proposals)
First Time Home Buyer Program Lending Partners
Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development (NCDCED) is seeking partner lending institutions for the First Time Home Buyer Program.
NCDCED requests written proposals from qualified home mortgage lending institutions who are interested in participating in this program. Any institution submitting a proposal must be prepared to work with NCDCED for the benefit of income-eligible residents seeking to purchase a home for the first time within Northampton County.
The Northampton County First-Time Homebuyer Program provides loans to eligible first-time buyers of Northampton County homes. These loans provide up to $5,000 to help with the cost of the house and closing costs. While the County provides these funds as a forgivable loan, all financing and processing will be performed by the partner lending institution. Loans are funded by a fee assessed on all deed and mortgage transactions occurring within Northampton County.
We secure the investment in our communities by placing a lien on the property for 5 years or until the property is sold. For each year the homebuyer retains ownership of the property, 20% of the loan is forgiven. The loan is completely forgiven if the homebuyer remains in the home for at least 5 years.
The approval for this loan is contingent upon the combined household income of the buyer equalling 80% or less of the Area Median Income (as published annually by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development). Buyers must have evidence of the ability to contribute 1.5% of the total purchase and must complete a Pre-Purchase Homeowners' Counseling course, as offered by a HUD-certified counseling agency. Underwriting of these criteria is completed by the primary lender as part of its approval process.
The Northampton County First-Time Homebuyer Program has several important goals:
To this end, the County's mortgage may only subordinate to conventional, fixed-rate mortgages. This product is recognized by PHFA and can be used in conjunction with other incentives for low-moderate income homebuyers, such as HOOP and First Front Door.SCOPE OF SERVICESNCDCED's goal is to provide first mortgage assistance to eligible first-time home buyers in Northampton County. Selected partner lending institutions will need to have the capacity to assist eligible applicants in fulfilling the requirements for participation in the program, providing or assisting the applicant in finding a resource for Homebuyer Education Counseling through a HUD certified/affiliated accredited agency or program, and securing financing for a home purchase. The services that need to be provided require lending partners that are capable of the above tasks, and of performing those functions for a diverse and widespread population.EVALUATION CRITERIANCDCED has performed extensive qualifying research prior to selecting institutions to invite to respond to this RFP, including examining CRA evaluations, HMDA reporting data, FHA compare ratio data, and other items. Lending institutions will be further evaluated on the basis of their written responses to this RFP, additional information as requested, and oral interviews, if any, including, but not limited to the following criteria:
REQUESTED INFORMATION All lending institutions must address the following issues and questions:
SUBMISSION OF RESPONSESYour firm, in the preparation and submission of a proposal, must observe the following requirements:
NCDCED reserves the right to:
Northampton County supports
Equal Opportunity and Fair Housing and does not discriminate in any of its
grant programs on the basis of race, color, creed, ethnicity, sex, familial
status, age, religion, or disability. No displacement may occur as a result of
activities funded with CDBG.
Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development administers resources for assistance with utility bills through Catholic Charities, Diocese of Allentown. If your family is in need of assistance with past due utility bills, please call (610) 435-1541.
Further information on programs designed to provide assistance with utility bills can be found Utility Bill Assistance