Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

May 13, 2014

Program targets repeat home buyers

TRAVERSE CITY — A new program will help prospective home buyers come up with down payments in an increasingly crowded northern Michigan housing market.

The MI Next Home program is not for new home buyers. It instead targets individuals who are repeat home buyers, both singles and families. It offers up to $7,500 in down payment assistance for prior homeowners who look to buy a new one.

“With our economy coming back, more and more people are looking to upgrade to a new home,” said Scott Woosley, executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. “Having a sufficient down payment is often a significant roadblock to that new move. MI Next Home will now make that move possible.”

The down payment assistance cannot be more than 4 percent of the new home’s purchase price. Eligibility is determined by the home buyer’s income level. Households with one or two people and an annual income less than $72,000 are eligible. The income level cap is nearly $85,000 for households with three or more people.

Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes believes the program will help spur real estate transactions in a red-hot Traverse City real estate market.

“The Traverse City real estate market is actually booming,” Estes said. “The most difficult thing to do in the city of Traverse City is actually find a house for sale and then, if you do find one, you’ll find out it’s going to cost a lot more than you expect … it’s going to make home buying more affordable.”

Meagan Luce, board president of the Traverse Area Association of Realtors, suspects the program will have a significant impact on sales.

“It’s huge,” Luce said. “The down payment is really a very large hurdle that buyers have to overcome … and up to $7,500 assistance makes a big difference for the buyer.”

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