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A rural housing loan program, administered by the Rural Housing Service (RHS), authorized under Section 502 of the Housing Act of 1949. Borrowers may obtain loans for purchasing or repairing new or existing single-family housing. Loans are made directly by RHS or by private lenders with a USDA guarantee. Borrowers with income of 80% or less of the area median may be eligible for 33-year direct loans and may receive interest credit to bring the interest rate to as low as 1%. In a given fiscal year, at least 40% of the units financed under this section must be made available only to very low-income families or individuals (below 60% of the area median) with terms up to 38 years. Borrowers must have the means to repay the loans, but be unable to secure reasonable credit terms elsewhere. Borrowers with income of up to 115% of the area median may be eligible for 30-year guaranteed loans from private lenders. Priority is given to first-time homebuyers, and the RHS may require that borrowers complete a homeownership counseling program.

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