Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced on April 27 that the incentive for first-time homebuyers will double to $10,000, effective May 1, 2022. (Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash.com)

By AFRO Staff

Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced that effective May 1, the City is increasing incentives for first-time homebuyers to $10,000 for eligible households. Additionally, qualified homebuyers purchasing homes in Impact Investment Areas will be eligible for $20,000 in first-time homebuyer incentives.

This is a part of the Mayor’s strategy to increase Baltimore’s population of middle-income families and is central to the Scott Administration’s growth plan for 2030, which was created in response to declining population numbers – especially among middle-income Black homeowners. 

“Home prices and mortgage rates continue to escalate. This dynamic can cause housing affordability to sink for many first-time buyers,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “To address these challenges and continue to grow our communities, we are boosting the amount of assistance we offer to make buying a home more affordable. In order to continue to grow our city and strengthen our economy, we must do everything in our power to prevent potential Baltimore homeowners from being squeezed out of the marketplace.”

The First-Time Homebuyers Incentive Program is funded with Community Development Block Grant funds and offers down-payment help and closing cost support for first-time homebuyers. Assistance is increasing from $5,000 to $10,000, and an additional $10,000 is available for purchases made in the City’s Impact Investment Areas. Eligible buyers must purchase the home for owner-occupancy and have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Currently, AMI is $55,950 for a household of one, $63,950 for two, or $79,900 for four.

“This is further evidence that we are hyper-focused on equitable neighborhood development,” continued Mayor Scott. “Home buying incentives can level the playing field and ensure greater success for many potential homeowners.”

Approximately $2.5 million is available for the program. The Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) administers the program.

“We’re ready to commit these funds to the marketplace for applications submitted on or after May 1,” said Nicole Hart, DHCD Deputy Commissioner for Homeownership & Housing Preservation. “The incentive functions as a five-year forgivable loan, reducing by 20% each year provided the homebuyer lives in the house as their primary residence.”

This program will complement other existing incentives available to potential homebuyers including the Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Program providing $5,000 for employees that have been with the City for at least six months, the Live Near Your Work partnership encouraging homeownership near places of employment, Buying Into Baltimore grants, and the Vacants to Value Booster encouraging rehabilitation of properties with City-issued Vacant Building Notices.

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