O'Fallon Progress

Thinking of buying a home in Shiloh? You have until June to qualify for a USDA loan.

Goodbye, country life.

Come this summer, the village of Shiloh will no longer be considered "rural" in the eyes of the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development recently conducted a review of the incorporated areas of Shiloh and determined the village will now be ineligible to participate in its Rural Housing programs.

The review was to determine if an area remains what USDA deems "rural in character."

Having a "rural" designation as a community means that low- and moderate-income home buyers can get financing through USDA. The loans are typically 30-year, fixed rate. Rural Development is one of only two government agencies that offers such long-term financing — the other being the Veterans Administration. The agency currently has 34 active loans on single-family homes in Shiloh, four of which were made last year.

USDA made its determination using the 2015 American Community Survey data and public comments received.

The agency said it received two public comments.

One comment was in support of Shiloh remaining eligible, due to its proximity to St. Louis. The program helps make Shiloh an attractive place for young families, the person commenting said. Shiloh is also "rural-minded" and Rural Development programs help to provide stability in the community, the comment said.

The other person that submitted a comment indicated that Shiloh is "no longer rural" and they have "heard city officials talk about how overcrowded the community is."

USDA conducts such eligibility reviews are performed about every five years, said Lindsey Keyes, Illinois Housing Program director for USDA Rural Development. The last rural area reviews in Illinois were performed in 2012-2013, using 2010 U.S. Census data.

The village of Shiloh saw its population grow more than 8 percent between 2010 and 2016, according to a special census commissioned by the village that was published last year. Shiloh’s official population now stands at 13,961. Population growth and Shiloh being located in the St. Louis metropolitan area were the reasons for the reevaluation process.

The proposed changes in Rural Housing eligibility will become effective on June 4.

Current borrowers will not be affected in any way. Homeowners with USDA loans will not see any change to their mortgages, and they would still be allowed to refinance their loans in the future.

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