Kansas Program Offers First-Time Homebuyers a Financial Boost Amid Rising House Prices

Kansas Program Offers First-Time Homebuyers a Financial Boost Amid Rising House Prices

The Kansas First Time Homebuyer program, a lifeline for many low-income residents, is inviting potential homeowners to grab this golden opportunity. With the escalating costs of homes in Kansas, this program can make the seemingly unattainable goal of home ownership a reality.

Misty Brown, who resides in Derby, knew the instant she set foot in her now-home that it was “The One.” Despite the absence of online photos, the property had an irresistible charm that won her over—especially the bathroom with its original pink tiles. “This is it. This is home. This is perfect,” she thought upon entering.

Brown also discovered a few idiosyncrasies in the house, like wallpaper-adorned closets—a vestige from the previous, elderly homeowner. But these quirks didn’t deter her; she was convinced that this was her ideal home.

Thanks to the Kansas First Time Homebuyer program, she made that dream a reality. The program aids buyers by offering interest-free loans for down payments and closing costs, amounting to up to 20% of the property’s selling price. This loan is forgiven if the homeowner stays in the residence for a decade. “I couldn’t have afforded this home without the program,” said Brown, a single mom. “It was a game-changer for me.”

The gap between home values and incomes has been widening in Kansas since 2012, making it increasingly tough for aspiring homeowners to afford a down payment. The First Time Homebuyer program has been attempting to bridge this divide for nearly two decades, administered by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, which is now urging more applicants to step forward.

Marilyn Stanley, who manages the program, revealed that initially, they’d receive an overflow of applications, depleting the funds almost instantly. “But in recent times, we haven’t used all our available resources,” she mentioned. According to Christine Reimler, Director of Community Solutions at the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, the program utilized about 70% of its approximately $600,000 budget in 2022. Any remaining funds roll over to the next year.

Stanley attributes the declining program usage to several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a hyper-competitive housing market. “Houses are selling almost as soon as they hit the market, which makes it difficult for our program, as it might take a bit longer to close the deal,” she noted. But she remains optimistic that, with the changing dynamics of the housing market, the program could see an uptick in usage in the near future.

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