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David Kim: Housing Trust Fund Offers Down Payment Help to First-time Buyers

In response to the housing crisis, the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County has announced the start of a $2.5 million South Coast Workforce Homebuyer program.

The program will provide low-cost down payment loans up to $100,000 to qualified working families and individuals in south Santa Barbara County.

The idea is to keep high-quality local employees in town by aiding them in the purchase of their first home. Local businesses have acknowledged that homeownership is an important economic and social need for a vibrant community.

The Housing Trust Fund will provide qualified first-time homebuyers with a low-cost down payment loan up to 16.5 percent of the home purchase price, or a maximum loan of $100,000.  he homebuyer must contribute 3.5 percent or more of the home purchase price.

The Housing Trust Fund secondary loan combined with the homebuyer's resources will achieve a 20 percent down payment and enable the homebuyer to purchase an entry-level, single-family home or condominium with conventional financing, thus avoiding expensive FHA mortgage insurance.

The down payment loans are interest-only and repaid by the homebuyer at the end of 10 years by refinancing or taking out a home equity loan, based on the pay down of their first mortgage and increased equity in their home.

The Housing Trust Fund loan makes homeownership more accessible and affordable to local working families and individuals.

The Housing Trust Fund held its launch event Sept. 27 at the Yardi headquarters in Goleta. Capital for the program was provided by a consortium of lenders, including American Riviera Bank, Community West Bank, Montecito Bank & Trust, Rabobank, and the Housing Trust Fund.

The city of Goleta and other local funders provided key operational support over the past several years, which enabled the nonprofit Housing Trust Fund to develop this program.

I work closely with many friends and clients who are first-time buyers, and I am thrilled to know there are programs in our local community designed to help people who are making the biggest purchase of their lives.

— David Kim is a licensed real estate broker with Village Properties and the 2017 president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at [email protected] or 805-296-0662. The opinions expressed are his own.

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