East-central home

A home shown in east-central Ogden in September 2018. Ogden City is considering expanding its "Own in Ogden" home loan program, which traditionally targeted the east-central neighborhood, city-wide. 

OGDEN — A city run housing assistance program traditionally aimed at stabilizing home ownership levels in east-central and west Ogden may soon be expanded to all areas of the city.

The Ogden City Council is considering a proposal that would remove the geographic targeting requirement for the city’s Own in Ogden program.

Established in 1988, the program offers zero percent interest, deferred payment home loans for low- to moderate-income residents of Ogden. To be eligible, residents must have an income of 80 percent or lower of the median Weber County household income. Funds for the program come from federal HOME grant dollars.

Traditionally, the loans were only available to people looking to buy in Ogden’s east-central neighborhood. In years past, west Ogden the Mount Lewis neighborhood (formerly known as Ron Clare) have also been targeted.

But the city administration’s proposal would allow the loans to be made citywide and move the base loan amount up to $5,000 only. Other parameters, like offering $10,000 loans for Ogden teachers and members of the city’s police and fire departments, would remain in place.

Ogden Community Development Manager Ward Ogden said the changes are being proposed as a way to address the city’s changing real estate market.

For the past several years, the program has been funded to issue 45 loans per year. Even at that number, the city council frequently had to authorize increases in the program’s budget to meet the demand for it.

But that changed in 2018, Ogden said, as home prices in Ogden have risen and the number of homes for sale has diminished.

According to city council documents, only 30 loans were issued in fiscal year 2018. In the first quarter of fiscal 2019, only six home loans have been offered by the city, half of its goal for the quarter.

“It’s supply,” Ogden said. “There are plenty of people still looking for homes, but they aren’t available.”

Ogden said the low housing supply and the slow performance of the program over the last year or so makes axing geographical restrictions necessary. He said, theoretically, if housing supply goes back up, the restrictions could be put back into the program. Ogden also said the program’s main focus of stabilizing east-central is still at play.

“That objective really isn’t going away,” he said. “It’s just that the supply is so low and the money is there, so we feel like we can help a lot more people. I think the program is popular and has been used for so long, migrating the philosophy to help anyone who needs a home is the right thing to do.”

Since Own in Ogden first launched more than 30 years ago, the program has used more than $5 million to help some 1,800 low- to moderate-income families purchase homes in the city.

To find out more about the program or to apply for a loan, visit www.ogdencity.com/259/Own-in-Ogden.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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