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First-time home buyers in Illinois could receive further assistance in the process with a new loan program.

A new program, Welcome Home Illinois, will allow qualified first-time homeowners the opportunity to receive $7,500 toward the down payment or closing costs as well as a 3.99 percent interest rate on a secure 30-year fixed mortgage. Governor Pat Quinn announced the program Tuesday.

Borrowers must be first-time home buyers or haven't owned a home in the past three years, contribute the greater of 1 percent of the overall purchase or $1,000 toward the down payment and have a credit score of at least 640.

Welcome Home Illinois is funded through the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and Illinois Jobs Now!

Interested home buyers can find additional information about the program and a list of lenders on the Illinois Housing Development Authority website.

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