Andrew Cuomo and William Mulrow: Making Homeownership Possible Again

Posted by Admin | October 15th, 2014

In a perfect world, everyone with an income would be able to enjoy the experience of owning a home. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and even with interest rates being at their lowest in recent history, many people still cannot afford to purchase a home.

Governor Andrew Cuomo made it a priority of his administration to make low-cost, affordable mortgage financing available to New York residents in the market to purchase their first home. The governor began addressing the problem in 2012 with the appointment of William Mulrow as the chairman of the State of New York Mortgage Agency. Mulrow, a senior managing director with the Blackstone Group, brought to the agency his three decades of professional experience in investment banking and finance.

As an investment banker, Mulrow earned a national reputation as an expert in the creation of new investment strategies and financing plans for public- and private-sector business and government entities. His professional work made him uniquely qualified to take on the leadership of the lead agency in the governor’s effort to make homeownership affordable in New York.

A one percent difference in a buyer’s mortgage interest rate could mean the difference between owning a home and renting. While one percent might not sound like much, it could have a dramatic effect the monthly mortgage payment. For instance, the difference in the monthly payment of a 30-year loan for $250,000 at 5 percent and the same loan at 4 percent is $148.51. Granted, the difference might not be big deal to some people, but to a low- to moderate-income family, it could end any dreams of owning a home.

One of the misconceptions about SONYMA is that it lends money directly to buyers. The agency is not a direct mortgage lender. SONYMA establishes eligibility and underwriting guidelines that borrowers must meet. Money is lent by participating mortgage lenders with the agency taking on the role of insurer of the loans.

Some of the SONYMA loan programs target neighborhoods that the federal government has designated as economically distressed. Buyers of homes in those neighborhoods may qualify for lower than normal interest rates on SONYMA loans and assistance with down payment requirements.

Another innovative program that William Mulrow has brought to fruition is one in which SONYMA and the New York State Department of Veterans’ Affairs have joined forces to assist retired or active duty members of the military with low-interest financing and down payment assistance programs. What is unique about the programs is that it is not restricted to first-time buyers.

Active military and retired veterans also have access along with first-time buyers who did not serve in the military to a SONYMA program allowing them to borrow the purchase price and estimated renovation costs of a home. This addresses concerns about affordable homes requiring repairs that buyers do not have the money to undertake.