DC Works to Increase Black Homeownership with Low-Interest Loans and Deferred Repayment


Mortgage rates are rising, inflation is at an all-time high — and the District of Columbia is taking steps to boost homeownership, especially among blacks.

According The Washington PostDC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced this week that first-time home buyers may be eligible for assistance of up to $202,000 beginning Oct. 1. Funding, which is part of the district Home Buyer Assistance Program (HPAP), will take the form of a low-interest loan, with homeowners having up to five years to defer payments.

Although the program is not new, the increase is. Prior to the mayor’s announcement, HPAP was allowing qualified home buyers to get a loan of up to $80,000 for a down payment and top-up financing, as well as up to $4,000 for additional grants for home expenses. fencing.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser is taking steps to boost home ownership among black residents of Washington, DC (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“We knew we had to do something to make the program more viable for potential buyers,” Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said, as reported by The Post. “We wanted our residents to be the best prepared to enter this boiling housing market.”

DC authorities have decided on amounts that would allow people earning up to $109,600 and families of four earning up to $156,550 to qualify for phased assistance. Loan amounts range from $70,000 to $202,000, with the upper limit being a nod to the district’s 202 area code.

City officials are “trying to get more people to buy in the district, to live in the district, with a primary focus on black homeownership,” said Tsega Bekele, chief of staff of the DC’s Department of Housing and Community Development, as reported by The Post. “If you see that $202,000 is available to me for down payment assistance, you might think, ‘Wow, I, too, could buy a house, I think. “”

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The program has reportedly helped about 350 people since Bowser took office in 2015, but some participants say some of its requirements — such as getting an approved home inspection — can still make it difficult to stay competitive on the market. booming housing market, like other buyers. might be able to waive an inspection.

Bowser is making other changes in the near future to help address such dilemmas, including forming a new “strike force” to increase Black homeownership and close the racial equity gap in the district; as well as expanding the Homeowners Assistance Fund, which provides assistance with resident mortgages and HOA dues.

“If you look back at where there have been declines in the housing market nationally, we haven’t felt that as much as other regions,” Falcicchio said, according to The Post. The report, citing Bright MLS, said the median home price in the city in July was $646,000.

Interest rates and price hikes are expected to have an outsized effect on black consumers, businesses

Falcicchio added that increasing the maximum amount of assistance potential buyers can receive “puts those who participate in the program on a level playing field in a market where people are looking for that first home which may be a condo or a home that is not at the higher end of what homes can buy in the district.

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