It’s been a busy month as always, and deciding what to write about is always hard, especially now that I have the responsibility of providing the executive vice president’s report. Top of mind right now is to let you know about a major change coming to one of our member benefits that you all need be aware of.
On Dec. 12, the trustee board of the New Jersey Police and Fire Retirement System created changes to the PFRS mortgage program. As most of you know, the rate changes twice per year – on Feb. 15 and Aug. 15. In addition to the rate change taking place effective Feb. 15, there will also be a change to the minimum down payment required to use the mortgage program.
The new minimum down payment for any eligible members (regardless of homebuyer status) will be 15 percent of the purchase price of the home. This is an increase from the current 3-percent minimum for first time homebuyers and 5-percent minimum for trade-up buyers. The new rule change takes effect no less than 60 days from the board’s decision made on Dec. 12, which will be right around the time the rate change goes into effect on Feb. 15, 2023.
NOTE: Participants with mortgages reserved PRIOR TO this change will have their mortgages processed under the existing program terms of their reservation and will not be affected. This only applies to new loans locked after the effective date of the change.
During the past year, this program has grown substantially and has a market value of approximately $1.5 billion with more than 5,427 active loans. At this point, the program funding is nearing the maximum amount that has been allocated.
The down payment change is being enacted with the goal of maintaining funding of the PFRS loan program for years to come. This will slow the program down a bit so the system managers can take the time to assess the funds available. I have been assured they are hoping this is a temporary change and will be reviewing the program again at a later date to assess any further tweaks or changes needed to the mortgage program.
Needless to say, for those members thinking about purchasing a home and wanting to use the PFRS home mortgage program, I would advise you to speak to one of the approved PFRS mortgage lenders that advertise in NJ Cops Magazine or listed on the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) website (www.nj.gov/dca/hmfa/) as soon as possible to see how this affects you directly. Again, this rule change will start no sooner than 60 days from Dec. 12.
As you are all aware, there was an election for the of PFRS retired members’ trustee. During the past few months, we advocated for retired Edison Local 75 member Bruce Polkowitz to be reelected to this position. Unfortunately, PFRS retired members voted for another candidate and Bruce ultimately lost his reelection bid.
I would like to thank Bruce for serving all PFRS members faithfully and honorably during his tenure. He will have a lasting effect on the system because of the ideas and policies he helped implement to achieve many successes for the system. Bruce’s successor will take over in January and I am hopeful he will be a strong advocate for our members just like Bruce.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the NJ State PBA Open House on Dec. 9. It is always good to see so many active and retired State Delegates and presidents around the holidays. It was great to catch up with you all. It was also great to see so many of you at your Local or county conference holiday parties. While I wish I could have made them all, I am not sure our cars could have made it that many miles in one month without the EZ Pass account thinking we added 10 more vehicles to the PBA fleet. In all seriousness though, thanks for including me. It’s always great to meet more and more PBA members.
Finally, I’d like to wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. Be safe and enjoy this holiday season with your family and friends.