THDA assistance helping Antioch home ownership

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency has helped three dozen people in Antioch become homeowners thanks to its new $15,000 HHF Down Payment Assistance program.

“We have helped 36 homebuyers so far in (Antioch), which amounts to $540,000 in down payment assistance through this program. The total value of the home loans for those 36 homebuyers is just over $5.7 million,” said Rick Lewis, communications coordinator for the agency.

Earlier this year, THDA received $60 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund to launch the down payment assistance program, which is designed to stabilize home prices and prevent foreclosures by generating renewed interest in neighborhoods where home sales and certain other economic indicators lag behind the rest of the state.

To qualify, homebuyers must finance the purchase an existing home in one of 55 designated ZIP Codes with a Great Choice Home Loan.

“We worked with the U.S. Department of Treasury to create a map of neighborhoods where home sales exhibited the greatest need for a shot in the arm, and in fact, we’ve seen a significant boost in demand for home loans in those areas,” THDA Executive Director Ralph Perrey said.

ZIP code 37086, which encompasses southern Antioch and part of La Vergne, was included in the program. Overall, THDA has issued 500 home loans this year through the program that gives qualifying buyers in certain zip codes a $15,000 interest-free loan for down payment assistance.

The purpose of the program is to attract new homeowners to struggling areas and help create an affordable way for Tennessean to find stable housing.

“By attracting new homeowners, we’re also bringing new energy and new life to these neighborhoods,” Perrey said.

To date, approximately $7.5 million has been awarded to homeowners under the $15,000 HHF Down Payment Assistance program.

Approved homebuyers receive $15,000 financial assistance in the form of second mortgage loan to be applied toward down payment and closing costs. This loan requires no monthly payments, accrues no interest, and may be completely forgiven without repayment if the homebuyer remains in the home for more than 10 years without selling or refinancing.

Homebuyers in areas that do not qualify for the $15,000 HHF Down Payment Assistance program can still apply for financial assistance in the form of a 30-year Great Choice Plus second mortgage loan. This loan requires no monthly payments, accrues no interest, and is available in an amount up to five percent of the home’s purchase price.

The Great Choice Home Loan program offers a 30-year, fixed interest rate first mortgage loan to Tennesseans of moderate income. These home loans require at least a 640 credit score and are limited to first-time homebuyers in some areas.

In May, more than 60 percent of homebuyers in THDA’s Great Choice Home Loan program also applied for the new $15,000 HHF Down Payment Assistance program.

“The benefits of home ownership reach far beyond the individual family, because homeowners are invested members of their community, financially and emotionally,”  Perrey said.

 Michelle Willard can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @MichWillard.