What new California program for first-time homebuyers means for Valley residents

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Many Valley homebuyers are tired of being priced out of the market.

A new 0% loan through the state could help you make a down payment.

To qualify in Fresno County, you can't make more than $50,240 a year.

"It might not work for a lot of people," says Eric Johnson of the California Housing Finance Agency. "It's specifically for people who are on that lower end of the income spectrum."

Johnson says the agency has received $88 million from the state legislature to help low-income families buy a home.

"What it is, is 10% of the purchase price of a home in the form of what's called a forgivable loan," he said. "That means if you stay in the home for five years, you don't have to pay that 10% back."

Jeremy Engle of Valley-based Vero Mortgage is one of the program's preferred loan officers.

He calls it is a great program, though it is difficult to find applicants who can take full advantage, even if they qualify, because of soaring home prices.

"These days, if you're approving under $300,000, I almost want to say sorry when I hand them the pre-approval letter," he said. "It's sad."

Engle says applicants often ask about buying a condo, but he reminds them how much HOA fees could add to their monthly payment.

Still, Engle says people who qualify should apply for this program because loan officers can also tell you about other down payment assistance available.

The area income limit for this program ranges from $55,000 a year in Mariposa County to $46,000 in Tulare County.

To learn more about the program, click here.
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