Seventy percent of U.S. adults say they're unfamiliar with downpayment assistance programs for middle-income homebuyers in their community, according to a NeighborWorks Americasurvey of 1,000 people. But plenty of help is available.

NeighborWorks organizations provided 6,000 buyers with more than $100 million in downpayment assistance last year, and it expects to increase its assistance going forward. Many local and state organizations offer downpayment assistance as well, and there are specialized programs for military vets through the Veterans Affairs loan program; for first-time buyers through the Federal Housing Administration; and for rural homebuyers through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

"Downpayment assistance programs make home purchasing more accessible for first-time buyers," says Marietta Rodriguez, vice president of Homeownership Programs and Lending at NeighborWorks America. "In addition, because many downpayment assistance programs require homebuyer education, these purchasers tend to be more successful in the long-term. Research has shown pre-purchase counseling helps reduce mortgage default and equips home owners with the information they need to budget for other expenses and maintain their property."

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