Even with the significant downturn in the real estate market, some first-time homebuyers can find it difficult to come up with a down payment to buy a home. Others may find it difficult to qualify for a loan at all.
Few people seem to be aware that several Bay Area cities operate various types of government-funded programs to assist some first-time home buyers. For example, the City of Pleasanton operates an affordable housing program that has resulted in the development of over 120 affordable homes in 10 separate developments. The prices of these home have ranged from the low-$100,000’s to the low-$200,000’s. These houses typically have price restrictions associated with any resale. As a result, there are often restrictions on the amount of income that can be earned by prospective buyers of such home. These restrictions help assure that homes in the program are re-sold to buyers who may also have difficulty purchasing a home in the Pleasanton real estate market. More information about the program and its guidelines and requirements can be viewed at http://www.cityofpleasantonca.gov/community/housing/
The City of Dublin also operates a First Time Homebuyer Loan Program. The Dublin city guidelines defines a First Time Homebuyer as a household that has not owned a residential property or home within the previous three years. The guidelines for this program provide, among other things, that the borrower must provide at least 3% of the purchase price as a down payment. Borrowers who are approved by the City will received a 30 year deferred loan at an interest rate determined by the City, with no payments due until either the home is refinanced or sold. The current interest rate on these loans is 3.5%. The amount of the loan can be for up to 10% of the sales price, so it can be potentially used for down payment or to help with closing costs. More information about the program and its guidelines and requirements can be viewed at (click on “Departments” and then “Housing”).
Other cities also have affordable housing or first-time buyer programs. Requirements, guidelines, and availability vary from city to city. Information about the program run by the City of San Ramon can be viewed at (click on “services” and then “Special Services” and then “Affordable Housing”). The site for the City of Danville is (click on “Residents” and then “Housing Information”). The site for the Livermore City Program can be found at http://www.cityoflivermore.net/ (click on “How Do I” and then “Apply for Affordable Housing”). And the Tri-Valley program web site can be viewed at
Other Bay Area Cities may also have similar programs.