Kline retiring from ND Housing Finance agency
The executive director of the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency will be retiring July first.
Jolene Kline has been with the agency 34 years, and has been the executive director since 2013.
"I think we have expanded our role within the state, and we have become the go-to agency for housing," Kline said. "When the agency was created, it was created to promote home ownership. We've expanded that."
Kline said the agency is now serving all of the people of North Dakota, making sure every segment of the population has access to affordable, safe housing.
"I hope that I helped people during my career," Kline said. "It has been extremely rewarding to me."
Kline said she’s retiring to spend more time with her elderly parents and young grandchildren.
The agency is under the state’s Industrial Commission – and all three members – Gov. Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring – have thanked her for doing a great job.
Meanwhile, a program to help people buy their first homes remains very popular.
First Home – also known as the First Time Homebuyers program –is administered through the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency. It has just issued another $160 million in bonds for that program.
"The current interest rate on that is 3 1/2 percent," Kline said. "With this issue, we expect to serve just under 1,000 families."
Kline said the agency typically does two issues per year.
"This should get us six months down the road," Kline said.
Kline said the average size loan is around $170,000 -- and the average income of borrowers is under $60,000.
"We are putting people into home ownership that couldn't without the fixed-rate interest, as well as down payment assistance," Kline said.
And Kline said she expects the demand for the program to continue.
"Our numbers in 2018 are higher than they've ever been," Kline said. "So far, the numbers in 2019 show we're on track for another record breaking year."