Abercrombie signs bill for homebuyers program

HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Friday signed a bill that broadens a homebuyers program throughout the state.

The governor signed the legislation updating the Hula Mae Single Family Mortgage Loan Program during a ceremony at the Hawaii Capitol.

The new law adds features to the program, including down payment assistance. It also broadens the program to new potential homeowners.

Abercrombie says the law stirred up reminders of when he bought his first home and saved for 23 years to build up a down payment.

“I had this kind of stunned look,” after closing on the home, Abercrombie said.

The program has been administered by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. since 1979. Since then, the program has issued bonds totaling $1.8 billion through June 2012 to give buyers mortgage loans below market interest rates. More than 10,000 families have used the program to help buy their first home, according to the text of the bill.

Abercrombie tied the bill signing to National Homeownership Month, declaring observation of a similar month in Hawaii.

The new law takes effect July 1.