Homebuyers searching for properties in Honolulu on public-facing websites operated by HiCentral MLS and its 5,300 members will soon be able to see which homes may qualify for down payment assistance programs using Down Payment Resource, a tool developed by Atlanta-based Workforce Resource.
When Down Payment Resource is implemented, homes that may qualify for down payment assistance, grants, affordable first mortgages, and rehab loans offered by state and local housing finance agencies will be flagged with a special icon. Buyers who find a home on hicentral.com that may qualify for down payment assistance can answer a few questions to see if they, themselves, are eligible.
Because HiCentral MLS is integrating Down Payment Resource into its property listing data, MLS members will also be able to integrate the tool into their existing Internet Data Exchange (IDX) websites.
Approximately 72 percent of HiCentralMLS’ residential listings may be eligible for one or more down payment assistance programs.
“In high-cost markets, it’s especially important to provide resources for working families to find affordable homes,” said Rochelle Lee Gregson, CEO of HiCentral MLS, in a statement.
The Down Payment Resource tool can be especially valuable to first-time buyers who don’t have savings for a down payment, or equity in an existing home. New mortgage regulations and tight lending conditions have prevented many qualified, would-be buyers from taking advantage of low interest rates, the company said.
“Housing finance agencies and their homebuyer programs have grown in importance because they are exempt from new mortgage regulations,” said Rob Chrane, president of Down Payment Resource, in a statement. “With increased consumer interest in homebuyer programs and other tools offered by local agencies, it’s important for Realtors and homebuyers to have access to online resources about home financing options.”
Down Payment Resource licenses the tool to MLSs, Realtor associations, financial institutions and housing counselors. Partners and customers include the California Association of Realtors, Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), My Florida Regional MLS, First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS), Northstar MLS, Heartland MLS and Austin MLS.
Last summer, the company also made its database of down payment assistance programs available to the public through the website DownPaymentResource.com.