Street Talk: Down Payment Help Boosts Neighborhood Stabilization Efforts

Housing industry leaders met today to confirm the American Dream is alive and well.

“Homeownership is a fundamental reason why America is such a great country. It helps build strong communities and strong families. Research shows that homeowners are deeply engaged in the things that make their communities healthy,” said Keith Canter, Founder and CEO of First Community Mortgage. “Thankfully, homeownership is something many continue to pursue. It is no secret we have a very robust real estate market in Middle Tennessee.”

First Community mortgage loan originators saw 1,266 applicants through the home loan process in 2016 for over $269 million in mortgage loans.

“While there are reports of inventory being scarce and mortgage loans being more difficult to arrange, the fact is that there are many places where homes are available. And, not only are mortgages available at still very attractive rates, there is down payment assistance available through THDA for specific locations across Tennessee, including the 37086 ZIP Code right here in Middle Tennessee,” Canter said.

“The ‘It City’ message about Nashville is creating a lot of interest in our area,” said Valencia Phillips, a broker with Coldwell Banker Smith & Snow. “Inventory changes every day, but we have a lot of variety in today’s 44 listings in the 37086 ZIP Code. There are 126 families in this ZIP Code under contract.”

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) is offering $15,000 in down payment assistance to draw homebuyers to targeted neighborhoods across the state.

By stimulating home sales in these areas, the program is designed to boost homeownership in neighborhoods that have been slower to recover from the Great Recession.

“Our goal is to stabilize the neighborhoods and housing markets in Tennessee that have not recovered as fast as other areas across the state,” said Ralph M. Perrey, THDA’s executive director.

Eligible borrowers who purchase homes in targeted ZIP Codes using THDA’s Great Choice Home Loan program can apply for $15,000 in financial assistance toward their down payment and closing costs in the form of a second mortgage loan.

“We’re creating a substantial incentive for homeowners to buy in particular areas. Increased market activity in these areas will help stabilize property values for existing homeowners, thereby reducing the risk they will fall into delinquency or foreclosure,” said Perrey.

THDA’s $15,000 down payment assistance program is available in 55 targeted ZIP Codes spanning parts of 30 counties across Tennessee based on a number of “stress” factors, including foreclosures, short sales, and negative equity rates.