The eligible boundaries for the USDA Rural Development Loan Program are slated to change over 2014 in two phases in order to allow more time to consistently identify what is considered "rural in character". The loan program is available to qualified borrowers with low to moderate incomes and may allow for financing up to 100% loan to value. The elimination of some of the areas currently served will greatly impact the communities in question.
From USDA: New Rural Area Definition for USDA Rural Housing Programs!
The rural area definition was revised with the passing of the Agricultural Act of 2014, H.R. 2642 (Farm Bill) by modifying the second sentence of section 520 of the Housing Act of 1949 (42 U.S.C. 1490). The rural area definition is amended as follows:
(1) by striking "1990 or 2000 decennial census shall continue to be so classified until the receipt of data from the decennial census in the year 2010" and inserting "1990, 2000, or 2010 decennial census, and any area deemed to be a 'rural area' for purposes of this title under any other provision of law at any time during the period beginning January 1, 2000, and ending December 31, 2010, shall continue to be so classified until the receipt of data from the decennial census in the year 2020;" and
(2) by striking "not in excess of 25,000" and inserting "not in excess of 35,000."
Additionally, section 737 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (H.R. 3547) authorized any area that was eligible as of September 30, 2013, to remain eligible until September 30, 2014.
As a result of the legislation, Rural Development is in the process of implementing the new rural area definition and revising the rural areas maps located on the Eligibility website (http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov). The new rural area definition will be implemented in 2 phases as follows:
Phase 1, May 6, 2014:
Areas meeting any of the three following criteria shall be classified as eligible:
- The area was eligible as of September 30, 2013;
- The area was eligible prior to October 1, 1990, or was deemed eligible at any time between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2010, but subsequently became ineligible and was ineligible on September 30, 2013. In addition, the area population does not exceed 35,000 and the area is rural in character.
- The area population decreased following the 2000 decennial census, and the 2010 decennial census indicates it is now below the population limit for the area. (Unless the area meets the criteria outlined in either Phase 1 Map Changes 1 or 2, then it can only be eligible if (i) it is located in a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the population does not exceed 10,000; or (ii) if it is not in a MSA and the population does not exceed 20,000.)
Phase 2, October 1, 2014
Areas meeting any of the following criteria shall be classified as ineligible:
- The area was eligible prior to October 1, 1990, or deemed to be eligible between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2010 AND the population exceeds 35,000 per the 2010 decennial census.
- The area has been annexed into a larger ineligible area and has become part of the larger Census Data Place.
- The area was formerly eligible but is no longer rural in character due to further development and urbanization that is inconsistent with the new rural area definition.