New data shows the number of veteran and active-duty military homebuyers is up in metro Phoenix.

Veterans Administration-backed mortgages climbed 18 percent in the Valley during March 2014 compared with March 2013. Deals using VA loans were the only type of home purchases that were up in March, according to TheWilcoxReport, a Phoenix-based site analyzing residential real estate.

VA mortgages don’t require down payments in some cases and do not require private insurance, so they are less costly for the borrowers.

In March, 379 home sales in the Phoenix area were funded by VA loans, compared with 321 in March 2013.

May’s number could be higher as a result of a recent veterans housing event.

More than 300 veterans and active-duty military interested in buying in Arizona or refinancing attended the state’s first Veterans Housing Summit on May 17. The Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals hosted the event. For more information, go to

Veterans can qualify for down-payment assistance of up to $30,000, said G-II Varrato II, a retired veteran, Arizona real-estate agent and director of community outreach for the Veterans Association of Real Estate.

In the Valley, veterans and active-duty military also can qualify for the Home in Five Advantage program that offers down-payment and closing-cost help. A grant could pay for as much as 6 percent of the cost of the house.

Nearly 100 military members have received aid from the program, which was created by the Phoenix and Maricopa County industrial development authorities. For more information, go to or

No. 8 in affordability

A buyer needs to earn less than $42,000 annually to purchase a house in metro Phoenix, making the region the eighth-most-affordable metro area in the U.S., according to a new survey.

The report, from national mortgage-research firm, tracked the salary needed to buy a house in the nation’s 27 largest metro areas.

Cleveland is the most affordable big city, with an annual income of $29,788 needed to afford a house. In the Valley, buyers need to earn $41,308 a year. In the least-affordable city, San Francisco homebuyers must make $137,129.

The ranking is based on median home prices, average interest rates and property taxes.

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