Contrary to several answers I have seen on this website and others, there is money available to help first time homebuyers purchase a home.Â
As a result ofÂ Florida legislature raiding the Housing Trust Fund to allegedly reduce the state debt, Orange County Housing announced on June 26th thatÂ the grant amounts for down payment assistance will beÂ significantly reduced.Â While those of us who focus on helping First Time Homebuyers were aware that this was coming down the pike for quite some time, it was still a surprise that it happened towards the end of the month and was effective immediately.Â
The grant amounts, which are based on household income and size, are now $25,000 for those fall in the very low income, $17,500 for Low and $5,000 for Moderate.Â Â
I recently saw a story on CNN that discussed the fact thatÂ homes selling for $100,000 or less areÂ flying out of inventory and further thatÂ First Time Homebuyers in markets like Florida and California are fueling this upsurge in the affordable housing category.Â Â The sale prices andÂ historically low mortgage rates are encouraging these buyers who were basically shut out of the market for so long.Â
In addition to SHIP from Orange County, there are other programs that still have funding available for first time homebuyers.Â City of Orlando still has funding available for Low and Very Low borrowers and Florida Housing still offers down payment assistance throughÂ their Florida Assist program. There is also the Orange County Neighborhood Stabilization Program that was created toÂ encourageÂ purchases in areas with high foreclosure rates.
FHA announced that First Time Homebuyers can use the First Time Homebuyer Credit of $8,000 towards their down payment at closing.Â This money was allocated by the Federal government several months ago.Â Â While other states, likeÂ Minnesota and California to name a few, have already created programs to allow First Time Homebuyers to use their credits, FloridaÂ has yet to create a program.Â Â It is my understanding that the program may roll out in August.Â I'll be sure to keep you posted.
I am well versed on the programs listed herein and for those interested, the information is easily accessible.Â I encourage all real estate professionals toÂ do a little researchÂ to help their buyers continue to fuel the turnaround in our market.
For more information on these program and others, please feel free to shoot me an email.
As a Down Payment Assistance Specialist, I am particularly excited about this program because it offers another avenue toÂ homeownership.Â UnlikeÂ Florida's State Housing Initiative Program (SHIP) a/k/a Down Payment Assistance, individualsÂ do not have to be First Time Homebuyers to particpate. Investors are not allowed.
Last year, Orange County received approximately 27 million dollars from the federal goverment to address the mounting numberÂ of vacant homes in the area due toÂ foreclosure.Â Â TheÂ County worked on a plan for several months,Â asked for public input andÂ finalizedÂ the Neighborhood Stabilization Program this month.
ThisÂ plan isÂ geared towards addressing ourÂ hardest hit areas.Â Â The target zones are Pine Hills, Meadow Woods, Azalea Park, Union Park and Holden Heights/Oakridge.Â Maps of these areas can be found on Orange County's website:Â www.ocfl.net
The program works as follows: Orange County will acquire vacant homes in the target areas to rehabilitate for purchase and/or rent.Â In addition to repairing and renovating the properties andÂ in an effort to go green, the county will also install items that will improveÂ energy efficiency.Â
Qualified buyers will be able to purchase these properties with special gapÂ financing created for this program.Â Income and household restrictions apply.Â The buyer may qualify for up to 40%Â of the value of the property but not more than $35,000 towards their down payment.Â Funds for closing costs are additional.Â Â
Gap financing is different from SHIP because it's based on need.Â If the buyer's income qualifies for the program, then the amount of down payment assistance will be determined by the amountÂ necessary to insure that theÂ mortgage payment is affordable.Â
Buyers can also purchase bank-owned foreclosures located inÂ target areas.Â The contract/purchase price cannot exceed 95% of the market value.Â Buyers can useÂ anÂ FHA 203K Rehab loanÂ to purchase properties in disrepair.Â Gap financing is also available forÂ buyer's who qualify.
Most counties and municipalities will have their own program.Â Â City of Orlando's program will be up and running at the end of July.Â Â Osceola justÂ received $14MM and haveÂ yet toÂ set-up.Â
IÂ think this program alongÂ the $8,000 tax credit are justÂ the shot in the arm that Central Florida needs now.Â Â
Please feel free to leave a comment.Â For more information, contact me or go toÂ www.ocfl.net.Â