Philadelphia relaunches program to help homebuyers

Manyunk, Philadelphia
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The Philly First Home program has officially reopened.

The program, which began in June 2019 and is designed to help make homeownership more accessible throughout the City of Philadelphia, provides up to $10,000 in assistance that can be used towards a down payment and/or closing costs.

In order to be eligible, the recipient must be a first-time homebuyer or a buyer who has not owned a home for at least three years, purchase a home in Philadelphia, have a household income at or below 100% Area Median Income and complete housing counseling at a DHCD funded housing counseling agency. 

“We are proud to relaunch the hugely successful Philly First Home program, one more tool in the city’s toolbox to help make home ownership a reality for our residents,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement. “As Philadelphia continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, I look forward to seeing this vital program reopen and help even more Philadelphians own their own homes.”

The program started in June 2019 and closed in September 2020 after all funds were spent. Over $24 million of assistance was provided to new homeowners through the program.

According to city officials, more than 2,700 grants were committed through Philly First Home with an average grant amount of $8,983. Half of the homes were purchased for under $175,000 and 60% of participating households moved into a house less than three miles from their previous address.

“City Council is proud to continue supporting Philly First Home,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke. “Buying a home is the most significant investment most people will ever make, and anything that city government can do to assist that big step for first-time homebuyers, and to help them build wealth and generational equity for themselves and their families, is very positive.

“Whether it’s assisting homebuyers to purchase their first home, or working together with city housing officials to build new affordable homes, City Council will do everything in its power to help Philadelphians who want to live here, work here and raise their families here.”

Financial assistance provided by the program will become a lien on the property subordinated to the first mortgage. During the first 15 years of ownership, the lien will become due and payable upon the sale or lease of the home or the refinancing of the first mortgage to take cash out of the property. Upon completion of the 15 years of ownership, the lien shall be fully forgiven.

Interested future homeowners should contact DHCD funded Housing Counseling agencies. More information can be found online.

“The most affordable home is the one you own,” said Councilmember Cherelle Parker. “The Philly First Home program gives people the tools they need to start building generational wealth that they can pass on to their families and own their slice of the American dream.”

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