Grab Your Chance: First-Time Homebuyers in Durham Can Receive Up to $80,000 in Down-Payment Assistance!

Grab Your Chance: First-Time Homebuyers in Durham Can Receive Up to $80,000 in Down-Payment Assistance!

In response to the ongoing challenges posed by soaring mortgage rates, the city of Durham has launched an expanded Down-Payment Assistance program to aid first-time homebuyers. This initiative offers eligible individuals the opportunity to access up to a remarkable $80,000 to assist with down payments and closing costs. With housing costs on the rise in the Triangle region, Durham’s proactive approach seeks to address the homeownership struggles faced by those with lower incomes.

The program is administered by the Community Development Department of Durham and is generously funded by the city, with a substantial budget of approximately $5.7 million allocated to support local residents in their quest for affordable housing.

For qualified homebuyers, the Down-Payment Assistance program provides interest-free loans that do not require immediate repayment. These loans typically span a duration of about 15 years and may even phase out gradually. However, it’s crucial to note that the availability of these funds is limited, and they are distributed on a first-come-first-served basis until the allocation is exhausted.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must meet specific criteria, including:

  1. Income Limits: The total household income must be below 80% of the median income in the Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area. This translates to an individual’s income not exceeding $56,650, $64,750 for couples, and $72,850 for households with three members. Families consisting of four or more members have a maximum income threshold set at $80,000.
  2. First-Time Homebuyers: Applicants must be first-time homebuyers or individuals who have not owned a home within the past three years, in accordance with federal housing assistance regulations.
  3. Primary Residence: The intended property must serve as the applicant’s primary residence.

In addition to Durham’s initiative, the city of Raleigh has also taken steps to support first-time buyers through its Down-Payment Assistance program. While not as substantial as Durham’s offering, Raleigh has increased its assistance from $30,000 to $45,000, with the condition that the purchase price of the property does not exceed $371,000. Moreover, Raleigh has introduced the Enhanced Homebuyer Assistance program, funded by the 2020 Affordable Housing Bond, which provides up to $60,000 in assistance.

Raleigh’s program has its own set of requirements, which include:

  1. Income Limits: Total household income should not exceed 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for the Raleigh metro area. For instance, this equates to $63,500 for an individual, $72,550 for a couple, $81,600 for a household of three, and $90,650 for a family of four.
  2. Geographic Criteria: Homes must be located within targeted geographic areas in Raleigh.
  3. Property Price Limit: The purchase price of the property cannot exceed $450,000, and properties are subject to a 10-year deed restriction.
  4. Homeownership Class: Applicants are required to attend a Homeownership Class, facilitated by DHIC Inc., to receive homeownership and credit counseling.

Holly Gallagher, a communications analyst at the City of Raleigh’s Housing & Neighborhoods department, disclosed that $1.5 million has been earmarked for the program this year, with the anticipation of an additional $6 million to be added during the bond cycle.

While the Triangle region’s real estate market has experienced a modest decrease this year, home prices continue to surpass pre-pandemic levels. Last month, the average home price was recorded at $416,000, representing a slight 1% decline compared to figures from the previous year. However, incomes have not risen at the same pace as housing costs, resulting in homes becoming 11.3% less affordable compared to the previous year, according to an index by the Triangle Multiple Listing Service.

In this evolving real estate landscape, programs such as these play a crucial role in providing essential support to potential homebuyers striving to overcome the challenges presented by escalating housing expenses. Durham and Raleigh’s initiatives exemplify a commitment to ensuring that homeownership remains within reach for a diverse range of residents, fostering both stability and opportunity in the community.

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