Homeownership is a dream that is out of reach for millions of Americans, with only 63.4 percent owning their homes, the lowest level in 30 years, according to the Census Bureau.
Even as home sales have increased with interest rates near historic lows, first-time homebuyers are playing a relatively small part in the market. Along with tight lending standards, rising home prices – especially at the low end of the market – are shutting out many buyers. But, as a lender, I would point out that first-time homebuyers struggling to purchase have options. Among the most attractive are housing finance agencies (HFAs) – housing authorities established to help meet the needs of the residents of individual states, counties, and cities through a wide range of affordable housing and community development programs. HFA programs provide access to low-down-payment options. And through required education and counseling, they also help first-time borrowers understand the responsibilities of homeownership.