New program assists first-time homebuyers with down payment


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Saving up for a down payment is typically the highest hurdle to homeownership, but assistance can offer a huge helping hand.

Through a partnership with Down Payment Resource, home shoppers browsing eligible for-sales listings on Zillow can now see a list of all down payment assistance programs that may be available to them in that location. This new tool can be found on active listings on Zillow nationwide. Zillow Home Trends Expert, Amanda Pendleton spoke with KXAN’s Amanda Dugan about the new tool.

Zillow has a new feature that could be very helpful for those looking to buy a home. Can you tell us about it?

“This is a new feature that allows home shoppers to see what down payment assistance programs may be available to them. So, this is a pilot program. We’ve teamed up with down payment resources in order to provide this information on eligible for sale listings nationwide on Zillow. So home shoppers can enter some basic information about themselves, and they can see what programs they could be eligible for.”

Give us some examples, you know of things that people can see what kind of assistance, maybe they could, you know, find out they qualify for sure.

“Down payment assistance is typically grants or low-income loans that help make it easier to afford a down payment on a home. So, in Central Texas, there are 65 different down payment assistance programs that a home shopper could be eligible for. And if they enter some basic information, they can figure out specifically which ones could be available to them.”

Are you able to tell something not like what kind of range you’re looking at here from, you know, a minimum amount, maybe a maximum amount that you see, maybe some people qualifying for?

“Down payment assistance in Central Texas can run from $5,000, all the way up to $40,000. And the average maximum down payment assistance is about $20,000 in Central Texas.”

How will this help people who are looking to buy a home?

“We think that information is power and by providing more resources to the people who are shopping for homes on Zillow, we think that can help them unlock life’s next chapter and unlock the door to the American dream of homeownership.”

According to Zillow home values in the Austin Metro are up 43% year over year. By the end of this year, Zillow is predicting Austin will be the most unaffordable market for homebuyers outside of California.

Having substantial cash to bring to the bargaining table is a hurdle for many. Two-thirds of buyers considered affording the down payment as a barrier to homeownership according to Zillow surveys.

First-time buyers should plan to spend a year longer saving a down payment than they would have needed five years ago. Most first-time buyers put down less than 20%, but today’s low mortgage rates mean monthly payments can remain affordable with a smaller down payment.

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