Shoreview to Launch Home Energy Improvement Loan Program

The city of Shoreview's Economic Development Authority will launch a new home improvement program on Monday that they hope will motivate homeowners to do needed updating and lure new residents who think they can't afford a home in the city.

Shoreview's Home Energy Improvement Loan Program will offer loans from $2,000 to $20,000 to qualifying homeowners seeking to do greener replacements for roofs, heating and cooling systems, insulation, water heaters, windows and doors. The loans are available at 2 points above the prime rate, comparable to the market rate for a second mortgage, and must be repaid within 10 years or upon the sale of the home. Residents who stay in their homes for at least 10 years can have all of the interest reimbursed.

The program comes with an income limit - 120 percent of the city's median income, which translates to $119,776 for a family of four. Also, only detached single-family homes with a current market value of $314,640 or less qualify. Still, more than half of the city's residents should qualify, and so should about 70% of Shoreview MN properties.

"What we are trying to do is invite young families into Shoreview," said Mayor Sandy Martin, "young families looking for a home, but who can't quite manage a second loan to do these things, or are maxed out already on the home loan. This is an opportunity for them."

Shoreview's Home Energy Improvement Loan Program also comes in response to stories about Shoreview residents who needed to sell their homes but were unable to get financing to make vital improvements. Focusing on basic improvements to make the city's housing stock more efficient and stable makes sense to city leaders.

Funding for the program comes from previously dedicated property tax funds. As residents repay the loans, the pot will be replenished and increased by their interest payments. As the city has more experience, the Home Energy Improvement Loan Program likely will change to meet residents' needs.

Participants can still qualify for federal rebates for some of the same improvements.

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