Survey: Homebuyer programs increasingly aimed at first responders

Nearly 9% of all homebuyer assistance programs currently available benefit firefighters and other first responders


Associated Press/Down Payment Resource

ATLANTA — Down Payment Resource (DPR), the nationwide database for U.S. homebuyer assistance programs, today announced the release of its latest Homeownership Program Index (HPI). The firm's analysis of 2,192 homebuyer assistance programs in its DOWN PAYMENT RESOURCE database showed measurable quarter-over-quarter gains in program funding levels and an increased prevalence of programs aimed at assisting community heroes.

The survey showed measurable quarter-over-quarter gains in program funding levels and an increased prevalence of programs aimed at assisting first responders.
The survey showed measurable quarter-over-quarter gains in program funding levels and an increased prevalence of programs aimed at assisting first responders. (Photo/Getty)

Methodology

Published quarterly, DPR's HPI surveys the funding status, eligibility rules and benefits of U.S. homebuyer assistance programs administered by state and local housing finance agencies, municipalities, nonprofits and other housing organizations. DPR communicates with over 1,200 program administrators throughout the year to track and update the country's wide range of homeownership programs, including down payment and closing cost programs, Mortgage Credit Certificates and affordable first mortgages, in the DOWN PAYMENT RESOURCE database.

Key Findings

The Q4 2021 HPI examined a total of 2,192 homebuyer assistance programs that were active as of January 6, 2022. Key findings are as follows.

  • Funding levels are on the rise. 84% of programs had funds available for eligible homebuyers. That level of funding reflects a nearly 2% increase from Q3 2021.
  • More programs now target community heroes. Nearly 9% of all homebuyer assistance programs available in Q4 benefit teachers, first responders, law enforcement officers, firefighters, healthcare workers and other providers of critical community services. Another 11% of programs offer benefits for veterans, members of the military and surviving spouses.
  • Three out of four programs (73%) focus on helping homebuyers with down payments and/or closing costs. This figure includes repayable, partially forgivable and fully forgivable programs. Other major categories of assistance include affordable first mortgage programs (11%), Mortgage Credit Certificates (5%), matched savings programs and Housing Choice Vouchers.
  • Assistance is available for repeat homebuyers and landlords. Approximately 38% of programs do not have a first-time homebuyer requirement. In addition, 27% of programs allow buyers to purchase a multi-family property as long as the buyer occupies one of the units.
  • Availability varies by location. Three out of four (74%) programs are targeted to properties in specific locales such as cities, counties or neighborhoods, with the balance of programs available statewide through state housing finance agencies. The states with the most homebuyer assistance programs are California, Florida and Texas.
  • Support for manufactured housing is increasing. While homebuyer assistance programs have historically favored site-built homes, as of Q4, 28% of programs allow manufactured housing as an eligible property type, up nearly 2% from the previous quarter.

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"First responders, military, educators and other community service roles have been front and center for their extraordinary pandemic contributions," said DPR CEO Rob Chrane. "Many locales — especially in higher-cost markets — are determined to find creative ways to recruit and retain these workers, including by helping them make homeownership more affordable."

Further analysis of the Q4 HPI findings, including infographics and examples of many of the programs described in this release, can be found on DPR's website.

Get a complete, state-by-state list of homebuyer assistance programs here.

Disclaimer: This press release content was not created by the Associated Press (AP).

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