A government program that allows people to buy a home with no down payment has been reinstated in Washington and Union, banking and real estate officials said Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan program ended in Washington and Union at the end of September based on population growth shown in the 2010 Census.

But now the program has been put back in place in those two cities for the time being, said Bank of Washington Senior Vice President Gene Anderson.

It has been reinstated in Washington and Union until Jan. 14, 2014, and it could be extended longer after that Anderson said.

Franklin Mortgage Company loan officer Sharon Monzyk said she had two clients in her office this week who wanted to use the program to buy a home in the city limits of Washington. Had the program not been reinstated they might have had to look outside the city limits to buy, Monzyk said.

Likewise, Franklin County Board of Realtors President Rachele Maczuk said she has been informing clients that the program is once again available.

Anderson added that if Congress passes the Farm Bill in its current form, then the USDA program would be available in Washington and Union until 2020.

It is great that the program is once again available in Franklin County’s two largest cities, Anderson said.

Last week The Missourian reported that the program was no longer being offered in Union and Washington. Banking and real estate officials expressed concern that the program was no longer available in those cities. They said it is a good program for first-time home buyers because it allows them to finance 100 percent of a home’s cost.

The next best program would be FHA loans, which require a minimum of a 3.5 percent down payment.

Some officials said that the loss of the program in Washington and Union could have forced people to look outside of the city limits to buy a home.

Anderson estimates that 5 to 10 percent of his clients who buy in Union and Washington use the USDA loan program.