CHRISTIANSTED — Governor Albert Bryan announced the first mortgage closing for a recipient of a home loan through the VI Slice moderate-income home ownership program.
The program is designed to increase home ownership in the Territory by helping eligible Virgin Islanders secure a mortgage.
“Today means a lot to me because it represents the fruition of a concept long thought of to assist young Virgin Islanders, and old Virgin Islanders as well, who want to return home and participate in the progression and transformation of their home,” Governor Bryan said during a press conference to announce the first mortgage closing under the program.
The Governor created the program last fall and VI Slice is administered by the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (VIEDA) through a partnership with the Government of the Virgin Islands (GVI) and local banks. New homeowner Jahtaya Regis secured her financing through Capital Mortgage Services of Texas, which has an office on St. Croix.
The program will provide up to $200,000 in gap financing to Virgin Islanders who qualify for a conventional mortgage through any participating bank and meet the other requirements of qualification for the program.
Governor Bryan said the purpose of the VI Slice Program is to build stronger families and invest in the future of the Virgin Islands.
“We figured if you have a mortgage and you have a home, the likelihood of you staying is much higher,” the Governor said. “Besides that, we need qualified young Virgin Islanders to move back home, as well as the ones already here. We want them to stay. We want them to build stronger families, stronger infrastructure and a stronger economy, and part of that is the government reaching out and assisting with home ownership.”
The program also contains restrictions that are built-in to ensure that the property is a primary residence and not repurposed as a vacation rental or Airbnb, and it limits how the property may be used to incorporate a rental unit as part of the primary residence.
To qualify to participate in the VI Slice Moderate Income Homeownership Program, first-time homebuyers must meet established household income requirements; attain a commitment letter for a mortgage loan based on underwriting standards of the primary financing lender; and be able to make a minimum earnest money deposit of $5,000.
The earnest money requirement can be waived for Veterans holding a certificate of eligibility or an honorable discharge via the DD214.
Applicants also must be a resident of the territory for the last three years prior to the signing of a sales contract, with the exception of those applicants who were prior residents of the territory for at least 10 years and have now opted to return, or whose birthplace is the U.S. Virgin Islands.
For more information about the VI Slice Moderate Income Homeownership Program, contact the VIEDA at 340-714-1700 in the St. Thomas-St. John District or 340-773-6499 on St. Croix.