HOUSTON - Despite the economic crisis, or perhaps because of it, more people are taking advantage of downpayment grants, tax credits, and low rates to buy their first homes, according to the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation.
Plus President-elect Biden wants to create an up to $15,000 credit that first-time homebuyers could collect at the time of purchase, rather than having to wait until they file their taxes.
It's all aimed at helping lower to middle-income families buy homes and build wealth.
"I love it up here, it's a really nice neighborhood," said Gabby Dominguez. A single mom, and now an empty-nester, Dominguez never thought she could buy a house on her own. But she just did.
"It just kind of made sense after my kids moved out and I was an empty-nester. I figured I'd look for a new place to live and a new place to start and just really begin a new chapter for myself," she said.
Dominguez says her mortgage broker helped her qualify for a $12,000 grant for her downpayment through TSAHC.
"I don't have to pay any of it back. It's all grants that you qualify for. It's all based on your income, your credit file," said Dominguez.
"I would say we've probably seen a 20% increase in homebuyer activity this year," said Joniel LeVecque, Homeownership Programs Director with TSAHC.
The Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation provides mortgage loans, down payment assistance grants, and mortgage interest tax credits to help both first-time homebuyers and repeat buyers.
They offer programs such as the Homes for Texas Heroes Loan Program, for teachers, firefighters and EMS personnel, police and correctional officers, and veterans, as well as the Home Sweet Texas Loan Program.
"We have a grant, which we consider a true grant, no strings attached, and never needs to be repaid, and there are no requirements to stay in the home any number of years," explained LeVecque.
"We have a deferred forgivable option as well, that does require you to live in the home for at least three years." She says these programs can be life-changing.
"I have seen this build family wealth for a homebuyer. If you continue renting, you're at the mercy of your landlord, and at the mercy of your rent going up and things of that nature.
Whereas, if you purchase a home, this is truly one of the only ways a family can build long term wealth for their family and for generations to come," said LeVecque.
"I'm very proud of myself. My kids are proud of me and this is a new chapter for me. I'm excited to be here, doing it by myself," said Dominguez.
Homebuyers must meet income and credit requirements.
You can take this short quiz to see if you qualify.