Vermont Housing Finance Agency Launches New First Time Buyer Program

Vermont first time home buyers have reason to be upbeat: the Vermont Housing Finance Agency  is launching a new program that will provide $5,000 towards down payment and closing costs. The financial assistance comes in the form of a zero-interest loan.

My Champlain Valley reports:

“Buying your first home is about setting down roots and becoming a part of your forever community,” said Lake Champlain Housing Chamber of Commerce Director of Workforce Development Katie Taylor.

For young professionals, buying a home might be the last thing on their minds.

“The down payment stops them in their tracks,” said Taylor.

Young renters are sometimes faced with the perfect storm of expenses.

“With rising student loan debt and high housing costs for renters, many have difficulty saving that significant amount of money for a down payment,” said Taylor.

The Assist Program will help first-time buyers tackle just that.

“We have the ability to provide up to $5,000 towards borrowers down payment and closing costs… and this will be in the form of a second mortgage and zero percent interest,” said WHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter.

VHFA says their typical customer is about eight years younger than the average homeowner statewide.

“Nationally we’ve seen almost a 15 percent drop in households under 45 and their ability to buy homes,” said Carpenter.

According to VHFA, the median household income of Vermont renters has remained flat since the recession, around $30,000.

“Young folks who are in the rental market that are paying very very high rents that continue to climb while wages are really relatively flat even in this so called recovery after the recession- they’re squeezed,” said Coordinator of Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, Erhard Mahnke.

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