Augusta is nation’s fourth-largest VA loan market
Tara Rouse loves her new five-bedroom, three-bathroom home in southwest Augusta.
“You’ve heard of a ‘man cave?'” she said. “This is my ‘she castle.'”
The 3,000-square-foot home in Sims Landing might have been out of reach for the disabled single mother had it not been for a fringe benefit from her eight years in the military: a VA loan.
The federally backed mortgage program — which celebrated its 75th anniversary this month as part of the GI. Bill — enabled the Augusta native to purchase the home with no money down and no private mortgage insurance payments.
In some parts of the country, Rouse’s path to home ownership would be atypical. But in Augusta, it’s practically the norm: The metro area is the fourth most-concentrated VA loan market in the United States.
According to research by the National Association of Realtors, 17% of Augusta-Aiken’s population is comprised of veterans. That figure is eclipsed only by Colorado Springs, Colo., 22%; Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va., 20%; and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla., 18%.
What’s more surprising about Augusta’s large population of veterans is how many are homeowners; at a time when the national home-ownership rate is about 64%, the rate for metro Augusta veterans is 78%, which is on par with the national rate for veterans.