BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The City of Baltimore is doubling the incentives it offers eligible first-time home buyers from $5,000 to $10,000 in an effort to make buying a home more affordable, Mayor Brandon Scott announced Wednesday.
In addition to that, the city is offering up to $20,000 in financial incentives to qualified applicants who buy their first home in parts of the city designated as impact investing areas, the mayor’s office said in a statement. press release detailing the changes.
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The additional incentives, which come in response to rising home prices and mortgage rates, are billed as part of the mayor’s long-term goal to expand Baltimore’s middle class and the overall growth strategy of the city.
“In order to continue to grow our city and strengthen our economy, we must do everything in our power to keep potential owners in Baltimore from being squeezed out of the market,” Scott said in a statement.
An estimated $2.5 million has been budgeted for the First Home Buyer Incentive Program, which is funded through block grants and overseen by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) from the city.
Nicole Hart, DHCD’s assistant commissioner for homeownership and housing preservation, said funding will be available to eligible buyers who apply from May 1.
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“The incentive works like a five-year forgivable loan, reducing by 20% each year provided the buyer lives in the home as their primary residence,” Hart said.
To qualify for the program, which provides assistance with closing costs and down payments, buyers must plan to live in the home and have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI).
The area’s median income is $55,950 for a one-person household, $64,950 for a two-person household and $79,900 for a four-person household, according to figures provided by the city.
The mayor said the program demonstrates the city’s commitment to “equitable neighborhood development.”
“Home buying incentives can level the playing field and ensure greater success for many potential buyers,” Scott said.
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To learn more about the program, visit the city’s website.