What agents should know about the massive growth of down payment assistance

  • Down payment assistance is growing practically everywhere.
  • Most have some kind of income and/or sales price limitations -- but in certain markets, the income ceiling can exceed 180 percent of the median income for the area.
  • More than a third of the programs don't include a first-time buyer requirement.
  • Mortgage tax credit certificates (MCCs) only account for just 8 percent of the assistance programs, but they are among the fastest-growing form of aid.

San Francisco, one of the highest housing-cost markets in the country, has had some form of down-payment assistance for homebuyers since 1998. But over the last four years, the city has steadily increased the amount of money it dedicates to helping its citizens buy houses.