NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – It’s a tough housing market right now for would-be homebuyers in New Mexico. A local agency is working to help get more New Mexicans into homes, by rebuilding broken-down ones. The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority is launching a program thanks to the state’s affordable housing act to revamp dilapidated homes and make them livable once again.

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The need for affordable housing is greater than ever in the state of New Mexico. With the average closing cost for a home over $300,000, times are tough for low to middle-income homebuyers.

The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority is trying to give those buyers a break, with its “Restoring Our Communities” program, which takes over and rehabilitates vacant and abandoned properties.

The MFA says there are currently 12,000 abandoned or vacant properties for sale in New Mexico. The first $2 million in state funding will pay for the restoration of at least eight homes.

“So the initial program is funded by $2 million on New Mexico Housing Trust Fund, and an average of about $250,000 a home, that would give us eight properties. But we have additional funding that’s allocated in July, another $2 million,” said Theresa Laredo-Garcia, Program Development Manager with MFA

MFA will then sell each home to a qualifying buyer and also offer down payment assistance. The agency says this program is modeled after a similar federal program but will be more flexible in terms of who can qualify.

“So we’re going up a little bit higher on income limits so that we can get more people into more people who need the help to get into housing.”

Although the homes can be anywhere in the state, the program offers extra incentives for homes in rural parts of the state.

“So this program is going to help to identify properties like those and turn them around and turn them into single family, affordable housing units that will meet the needs for people who are looking for housing in those areas.”

MFA says the program could expand in the future if its budget allows it. MFA says the previous program, which was federally funded, provided 92 homes for low-income families.