Down Payment Help Becomes More Available
A growing number of state and local governments are now offering what are called "down payment assistance programs," grants or low- and no-interest loans to first-time buyers or those who haven't owned a house in a few years. The number of programs, now somewhere around 1,000 nationally, has increased 3% to 5% in the last six months alone, estimates Marc Savitt, president of the National Association of Independent Housing Professionals, an advocacy group.
And, in a stark reversal, some banks are now far more willing to work with borrowers who need down payment assistance, buyers who were considered too risky 18 months ago. State housing agencies say they're seeing the biggest spike in lender interest since before the housing downturn. Florida's down payment assistance agency now works with 65 lenders, up 12% from a year ago, says a spokeswoman; in North Carolina, the number of participating lenders has grown 22%.
Read more at SmartMoney.com.
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