The restoration of the single-family rural housing program that would guarantee home loans for rural buyers was passed by the Senate today and is on its way to President Obama.

The National Association of REALTORS® has vigorously lobbied to restore funding for the rural program since last March, and hailed this development as a great victory for rural home buyers.

This is going to be a great lift for thousands of rural home buyers who need to close on their home purchases before Sept. 30 to take advantage of the home buyer tax credit, said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder. Many rural families would have been left out in the cold without these guaranteed loans. Increasing the commitment authority will help rural families, support local housing markets, create jobs and generate new tax revenues.

The rural housing program is a good example of the kind of program needed for responsible and qualified home buyers who bring common sense to the housing market, said Golder. The legislation increases the guarantee fee for borrowers, but allows the fee to be financed. This change will make the program completely self-sufficient, she said.

Golder thanked Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) for moving the bill to passage in both houses.

The legislation was part of H.R. 4899, The Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act that the Senate passed today. The measure increases the Rural Housing Service commitment authority allowing guaranteed loans; previously, RHS has been providing conditional commitments. The RHS is expected to announce new guidelines shortly after the president signs the bill.

More details from NAR.