Durham's new Down Payment Assistance aims to help first-time homebuyers

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Mirroring the Triangle's hot housing market itself, demand is high for a new assistance program helping first-time homebuyers in Durham.

The Down Payment Assistance Program (DPA) launched Monday and within the first several hours, more than 250 potential buyers had applied for $20,000 in down payment and closing-cost assistance.

Daniele Berman, a spokesperson for Community Home Trust, the nonprofit administering the program for the City of Durham, said there is $5.7 million in funding available, which should help 285 homebuyers.

The DPA will operate on a first-come, first-served basis until the money runs out, but applicants looking to purchase their first home inside Durham city limits must meet a number of criteria:
  • Earn less than 80% of the area median income
  • Must not have owned a home for the past three years
  • Must have worked or lived in Durham for at least 12 months
  • Must plan to make the home your primary residence

"We know that housing costs are so expensive right now whether that's rent or a mortgage; often rent is much more expensive than a mortgage, but one significant barrier for a lot of folks who may be first-time homebuyers is they may not have that cash payment that you need to be able to put the down payment on the home," said Berman.

According to Realtor.com, the median list price for a home in Durham as of February 2022 was $365,000.

The $20,000 in assistance will go to applicants in the form of a forgivable 15-year loan with 0% interest.

The program is funded with money from the City's Forever Home, Durham program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Berman said with the market being as challenging as it is to find affordable housing, there is no time limit on when approved applicants will need to spend the money.

"When you apply and are qualified, this money will be there when you are ready to purchase your home," she said. "Our hope and the City of Durham's hope is that particularly this program being for first-time homebuyers is going to make a measurable change in who has wealth in our community, who has that homeownership wealth and access to it."
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