Mayor Mike Duggan, City Council members and the Detroit Department of Housing and Revitalization today announced a landmark program that will provide Detroit residents who do not currently own a home with up to $25,000 in down payment assistance to help them realize the American Dream about owning a house.
The program is available to low-income individuals who can afford the monthly mortgage payment but do not have enough savings for the down payment. For example, for one person to be eligible, they must earn less than $41,000 a year.
The program is part of a $203 million affordable housing plan that Mayor Duggan and Councilmembers Latisha Johnson, Mary Waters, Angela Whitfield Callaway and Gabriela Santiago-Romero unveiled last July. Down payment assistance was one of Johnson’s contributions to the housing plan, and the issue has been a top priority for the councilwoman who has spent 15 years in the community fighting to expand Detroiters’ access to homeownership.
The Detroit Down Payment Assistance Program, funded with $6 million in funds from the USA Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), provides Detroit matching grants to households of up to $25,000 for down payments. Financing can also be used for other costs associated with buying a home, including down payments (such as security deposits for property taxes), foreclosures, closing costs, and principal reduction. The program is expected to help 240 to 400 low-income and middle-class homebuyers over the next two years, depending on the amount each family needs as a down payment.
“As home values continue to rise, it is vital that people of all incomes are able to buy a home,” said Council Member Johnson. “Home ownership provides stability for them and their family. Moving because your landlord has increased the rent means not only having to find a new place to live, but also kicking your child out of school, leaving the friends and relationships you’ve made, and possibly leaving the community you love and call home. home This program is designed to help more Detroiters eliminate this instability so they can feel secure in their future.”
Increasing homeownership in Detroit
This new effort to increase homeownership in Detroit comes six months after Detroit returned to its status as a city with the majority of homeowners for the first time in decades. Mayor Duggan said the down payment assistance plan could build on that progress.
“There are many Detroiters who pay more than their mortgage payments each month in rent, but need help with the down-payments associated with purchasing a home,” said Mayor Duggan. “Thanks to President Biden and the American Rescue Plan Act, we can help hundreds more Detroiters own their homes, create wealth for generations, and protect ourselves from the rising rents we’re seeing as our city rebuilds. We’re already seeing more people take advantage of the opportunity to become homeowners in Detroit, and this is a chance for more Detroiters to join them.”
Easy as 1-2-3
The mayor and council members outlined three steps Detroit residents must take to take advantage of the program.
- Find a lender among the program’s 13 partner organizations. Participating lenders include Bank of America, Chase, CIBC, Citizens, Fifth Third Bank, First Independence Bank, First Merchants Bank, Flagstar Bank, Huntington Bank, Independent Bank, Liberty Bank, PNC Bank and Rocket Mortgage.
- Find the home you want to buy.
- Apply for participation in the program at www.detroitdpa.org.
A “game changer” for the people of Detroit
The down payment assistance program is primarily for renters, but it is also available to those who lost their home to foreclosure in 2010-16 and are trying to buy a new one. The program will be overseen by the Detroit Department of Housing and Revitalization and implemented by National Faith Homebuyers, a Detroit-based nonprofit that has helped metro Detroit residents buy or stay in their homes since 1996, including down payments. home buyer counseling and financial literacy programs.
“I believe this new down payment program will be a game-changer for Detroit residents,” said Deanna Harris, founder and president of National Faith Homebuyers. “This program will bring home ownership back to families who want to own a home. We are honored to be chosen to serve families in this great city and will do our best to help them achieve their goals. Kudos to the Detroit leadership for launching this program at a time when it is sorely needed.”
The Ownership Initiative, a black-owned impact consulting firm headquartered in Detroit, helped develop the program. Founded by CEO Krista Pate, The Ownership Initiative has helped create more than 30 initiatives in six states that have collectively directed more than $83 million toward personal wealth building, affordable housing and small business opportunities.
“It’s been decades since we’ve had this kind of home ownership support available in the city,” Pate said. “Before the housing market crash of 2008, Detroit was ranked as one of the top cities in the country for the number of black homes. This was the Detroit I grew up in and remember fondly, and that I want to see restored to the generational richness we’ve lost since then. This program will go a long way in helping us achieve that goal.”
Protection against rent increases
The program is taking place against the background of significant growth in real estate prices. Homes across Detroit are continuing a six-year trend of significant property value gains, with gains greater than most surrounding communities. Home values in Detroit rose an average of 20 percent last year. While this is great for those Detroiters who already own properties, it puts others at risk of higher rents.
“The progress we’ve seen in Detroit has been incredible, but it also comes at a time of rising mortgage rates that threaten that progress,” said Julie Schneider, director of the City of Detroit’s Department of Housing and Revitalization. “We know that to keep the trend going, we needed to offer something that would have a big impact on Detroit families. We also provide additional tools and resources for those homebuyers to set them up for greater success.”
Eligibility and application process
To be eligible to apply for the program, Detroit residents must not have owned an interest in the property for the past three years. Total household income for applicants cannot exceed the following income limits per household size:
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Applicants must prove that they have lived in the city of Detroit for the past 12 months, or that they have lost a home in the city due to property tax foreclosure between 2010 and 2016. From 2010 to 2014, the city’s residential property assessment process was broken, leaving many homeowners with excess taxes. After taking office in January 2014, Mayor Duggan immediately lowered home assessments by 22% in his first month in office and continued to lower assessed values over the next two years to reflect the market at the time. Full program information and eligibility requirements are available at www.detroitdpa.org.
All grant recipients must use the home as their primary residence for three years after receiving the grant or repay the loan on a pro rata basis based on how long they lived in the home after the grant was awarded. Grants apply when an applicant buys a home using a purchase mortgage or a renovation mortgage.
To learn more about program details and eligibility requirements, and to apply, please follow the link www.detroitdpa.org or by calling 313-244-0274. The National Faith Home Buyers team can assist residents with detailed questions and assistance with completing the DPA application