What is the Unifour Consortium?

In June of 1995, all twenty-eight (28) local governments in the four county area (Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba) agreed to form the Unifour Consortium HOME Program, a regional body that has achieved entitlement status from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The City of Lenoir serves as the Lead Entity for the Unifour Consortium. The Unifour Consortium receives approximately $1.2 million annually to address regional housing issues. These grant funds are made available to the Unifour Consortium under the HOME Investment Partnership Act through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. In other words these are HOME Program funds made available through HUD. The purpose of the Unifour Consortium is to plan and carry out regional housing activities to benefit low-income beneficiaries.  The twenty-eight local governments unanimously selected first-Time Homebuyer Assistance as the primary program activity.


What kind of First-Time Homebuyer Assistance will be offered?

The Unifour Consortium offer a First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program to applicants by providing up to $5,000 for existing homes and up to $7,500for new homes, to eligible first-time homebuyers. This assistance is in the form of 0% interest loan with no monthly payment. The loan funds must be used to pay the down payment or closing costs to purchase a home. 


How and when will the First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Loan be repaid?

Applicants will trigger repayment of the loan in full to the Unifour Consortium, if and when he sells, refinances, or otherwise transfers the property. If the applicant keeps the property for a full ten (10) years, then the Unifour Consortium will forgive half of the loan. When this happens the applicant will only have to pay back half of the loan amount. It’s a good deal. 

Period of Affordability

Downpayment Assistance Activities: The Unfour Consortium shall impose period of affordability based upon the direct HOME subsidy provided to the homebuyer that enabled the homebuyer to purchase the unit. With our maximum assistance at $7,500 the period of affordability is 5 years.

Resale / Recapture Provisions

Downpayment Assistance Activities: The Unifour Consortium uses the Recapture provision with Recapture from net proceeds with all Homebuyer Dowpayment Assistance Activities. These provisions are imposed for the duration of the period of affordability on all HOME-assisted Downpayment Assistance projects through written agreements with the homebuyer, and enforced via a promissory note, deed of trust and declaration of deed restrictions. The recapture provision is triggered by any transfer of title, either voluntary or involuntary, during the established period of affordability. Recapture is limited to the net proceeds available at sale. The period of affordability is based upon direct HOME subsidy provided to the homebuyer that enabled the homebuyer to purchase the unit. The Unifour Consortium recaptures the entire amount of the direct HOME subsidy provided to the homebuyer before the homebuyer receives a return. 

What are the Eligibility Guidelines for applicants?


  1. First Time Homebuyer. The applicant must not have owned a home in the past three years. Exceptions may be made if a person is being displaced as a result of separation or divorce.

  2. Applicant must provide at least $500 of their own funds toward the purchase of the home, preferably in the form of an earnest deposit submitted with the offer to purchase.

  3. Income requirements. The applicant gross household income must not exceed more than 80% of the area median income adjusted for family size, as provided by HUD. Household means everyone that will be living in the house now or in the foreseeable future.  Income will be determined by projecting the gross household income for the future twelve months. Income will include all gross wages, overtime, alimony, child support, pensions, interest income, social security, income from assets, and etc. Projected gross household income may not exceed the following current income limits.

    2019 Income Limits Based on Family Size*

Unifour Consortium
Homebuyer Assistance Program

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How does an applicant apply for Homebuyer Assistance?

For more information about applying for the First Time Home Buyer Assistance Program applicants may contact:


Rick Oxford

Community Development Administrator
Phone (828) 485-4245
FAX (828) 322-5991


*HUD May Adjust these income limits annually.


  1. Ability to Secure Mortgage Loan. The applicant must have a good credit history and be able to receive a mortgage loan from one of the Unifour Consortium’s Participating Lenders. Applicants participating with owner-financed mortgages are not eligible for Consortium assistance.

  2. Unifour Consortium's Homeownership Class. The applicant must complete the Unifour Consortium First-Time Homebuyers Class through the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.


What types of housing are eligible?

Property must be located within the Unifour Area (Alexander, Burke, Caldwell or Catawba Counties). They include existing homes and new construction.


All homes must be inspected by a licensed professional home inspector. All homes must meet Section 8 Minimum Housing Quality Standards, applicable zoning, minimum housing codes, and any other standards as required by the lending institution. Note: - All homes built prior to 1978 must pass a professional lead based paint test performed by a licensed lead based paint inspector. The client must present this office a copy of passing test results before this office will provide downpayment assistance funds.


Eligible homes include single-family, site built homes, townhouses, and condominiums.


Some Modular homes are allowed. Mobile Homes and Doublewides are not allowed. Only those pre-manufactured homes that meet North Carolina Residential Building Codes are eligible. No on-frame construction. All modular homes must be pre-approved by the Unifour Consortium. Borrowers must own their land.


All homes purchased must be the applicant’s principal residence. Please contact Rick Oxford for information on the current maximum purchase price.


What are Participating Lending Institutions?

Participating Lending Institutions are approved lending institutions that are cooperating partners with the Unifour Consortium’s First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program.  Participating Lender may offer some of the following benefits to the applicant:


  • Competitive interest rates

  • Waived or reduced fees such as origination fees

  • Waived credit report cost

  • Waived flood certification cost

  • Waived PMI 


The following are Participating Lenders (Please contact Rick Oxford at rick.oxford@wpcog.org or call 828.485.4245 for lender contact information):

  • Alcova Mortgage

  • AmeriFirst

  • Atlantic Bay Mortgage

  • AmCap Limited Mortgage

  • Bank of America

  • BB&T                                                 

  • Certainty Home Loans

  • Fairway Mortgage

  • First Citizens

  • Habitat for Humanity

  • Highlands Mortgage

  • Movement Mortgage

  • Self Help Credit Union

  • SunTrust                                            

  • United Mortgage

  • USDA Rural Development

  • Wells Fargo

  • Yadkin Bank/ Mortgage

The Western Piedmont Council of Governments shall serve all local government members in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties with professional, cost-effective assistance on a variety of local, regional, state and federal issues and programs.

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Telephone: ​828.322.9191

Fax: 828.322.5991

Email: jason.toney@wpcog.org
Mailing: P.O. Box 9026 | Hickory, NC 28603
Location: 1880 2nd Avenue NW
Hickory, NC 28601

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This institution does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services. Auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities are available upon request. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.