VHFA Seeks To Extend Assistance For First-Time Home Buyers
The Vermont Housing Finance Agency says a down-payment assistance program is meeting its goal of helping first-time homebuyers purchase houses, and they’d like the program extended.
“We started at the end of August, really early September getting it fully funded and ready to go. So far we’ve closed about 60 loans. We had actually projected somewhere around the 110 mark, but I think we’re going to exceed that by the end of June,” says Executive Director Sarah Carpenter.
The legislature funded the program for three years, and Carpenter would like additional funding to continue the program for five years so it could become a revolving loan fund.
“Our main concern is we won’t start getting loan paybacks until after the fifth year, and so we have this dilemma that after the third year, we may have no proceeds to re-lend to people, or very little,” Carpenter said. “We’re just trying to have it be in sync with the average life of a loan, which is five to seven years.”
First-time homebuyers can get up to $5,000 in down payment assistance. The zero-interest loan is re-paid when the home is sold or the mortgage is re-financed.
VHFA has been closely tracking data from the program. The average first-time homebuyer is 31 years old with a household income of $61,000. The average home purchase price is $156,840, with $4,500 in down payment assistance. Of the 60 loans that have closed so far, 14 percent of the homebuyers have purchased condominiums.
Vermonters who make up to $100,000 per year qualify for the VHFA program.