Thousands of middle-income Maryland and Virginia home buyers have been among the direct beneficiaries of the revised tax-exempt housing bond program.

Virginia's housing development authority, for example, has floated two large, cut-rate bond issues since the summer. In mid-October the agency announced a $202 million program of 10.8 percent fixed-rate, 30-year loans for approximately 4,000 buyers around the state. In August the agency offered $163 million in 10.7 percent fixed-rate loans.

Maryland's community development administration also has floated two large issues -- an 11.5 percent, $63 million program in August, and $108 million in mid-October.

Using their own independent authorities to offer below-market-rate homeownership loans, both Montgomery and Prince George's counties have plunged into the bond market in a major way since July. Montgomery's housing opportunity commission has raised $45 million, enough to finance 725 cut-rate mortgages for first-time purchasers at 10.6 percent.

Prince George's Department of Housing and Community Development raised $37 million since the summer for new units and existing houses or condos -- enough to assist approximately 500 purchasers with fixed-rate 10.9 percent long-term loans.