If you are a first-time homebuyer defined as someone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years you could be eligible for $6,500 in interest free down payment assistance.
That is on top of a 3 percent down payment interest free assistance on a conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage.
The two programs are offered through the California Housing Finance Agency. Both address the biggest roadblock for many who want to buy homes — the lack of the down payment.
Numerous studies have shown there are a large number of current renters that can comfortably handle mortgage payments that in many cases end up being less than what they are currently paying in rent.
In practical terms of a $400,000 home sales contract that includes closing costs, it would leave an eligible buyer with a $381,500 30-year loan at 4 percent interest (today’s best rate) and an $18,500 loan at zero percent interest. That translates into payments of $1,821 and $51.30. (As a separate loan with interest the payback over 30 years for $18,500 would be $94.
Using the Manteca market as an example, the average rent on a newer three or four bedroom, two to three bathroom home is $1.750 a month.
By the time income tax advantages are factored into the equation, the combined $1,872.30 per month cost of buying is actually less than renting. Factor property taxes and insurance back into the equation and the cost is slightly higher than renting.
But here’s the real bottom line. Unlike monthly rents, a fixed rate mortgage won’t increase. Plus if you go to move five or so years down the road you will have equity that you can take with you when you sell instead of leaving it in a landlord’s pocket.
Income and household qualifications levels vary by city. In Manteca, a three-member household with a $50,000 annual income can qualify to buy a home worth up to $451,154. That allows you to consider buying the majority of new homes being built in Manteca and Lathrop.
The California Housing Finance Agency’s website at www.calhfa.ca.gov has an eligibility calculator for specific communities, household sizes and household income.
And since it is a loan program, it is designed for working class and middle class families.
“CalHFA is pleased to extend this additional assistance to first-time homebuyers,” says CalHFA Executive Director Tia Boatman Patterson. “This is a valuable resource for those families who are ready to buy a home and have the means for their monthly mortgage payment, but haven’t been able to save enough money for a down payment.”
An added benefit is that a CalPlus Conventional loan can also be combined with CalHFA’s other assistance programs, such as:
The California Homebuyer’s Down Payment Assistance program
The Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase program
The Mortgage Credit Certificate Tax Credit program