New down payment option could boost homeownership

  • Freddie Mac is piloting a program that lets homebuyers get half of a 20 percent down payment covered by a financial firm (Unison Home Ownership Investors) in exchange for home equity.
  • Twenty Unison-boosted loans have closed so far, with 10 going to first-time buyers, but lenders expect to generate "thousands" over the next few years.

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Federal mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac is piloting a groundbreaking program that lets homebuyers get half of a 20 percent down payment covered by a financial firm in exchange for home equity.