Supes approve $25M in first-time homebuyer assistance

Funds come from Measure A

Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved $25 million in 2016 Measure A Affordable Housing Bond funds to finance a new, first-time homebuyer down payment loan program, according to a June 20 announcement.

Through a partnership between the county’s Office of Supportive Housing and Housing Trust Silicon Valley—which will administer the program—the funds will assist approximately 250 households over the first five years of the program by providing deferred loans for down payments of up to 17 percent of a home’s purchase price.

In November 2016, County voters approved Measure A, a $950 million affordable housing general obligation bond. A portion of those assets was earmarked to fund a loan program for first-time homebuyers with incomes not exceeding 120 percent of the area’s median income.

“As part of our overall strategy to expand affordable housing options in the county, this loan program gives us the opportunity to offer many first-time home buyers a financially viable way to fulfill their dream of homeownership,” said District 1 Supervisor Mike Wasserman, vice chairman of the board’s Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee.

As the number of loan assistance programs has declined over the past eight years, many potential first-time homebuyers have either postponed purchasing a home or chosen to relocate to find more affordable housing options, according to county staff.

“Affordable housing has been one of Santa Clara County’s biggest challenges for several years now, and it seems to get worse every month,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager.
“The first-time homebuyer assistance program will give many residents an opportunity that would otherwise be out of reach.”

The county’s down payment loan program does not require monthly principal or interest payments. Borrowers will repay the principal loan amount plus a share of the appreciation based on the percentage of the loan borrowed. Payment is deferred until the maturity date is reached, the sale of the home, or a refinance of the first mortgage.

For information regarding the county-wide first-time homebuyer program, call Housing Trust Silicon Valley at 408-436-3450, ext. 234.

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