November 23, 2022 by Leave a comment

One of the biggest hurdles to homeownership is coming up with the down payment. Even if you are able to afford the mortgage payments, the lump-sum amount that comprises the down payment can make homeownership seem like a pipe dream, especially for low-to-middle income households looking to settle down in more luxurious communities. 

Fortunately, borrowers have more options than ever. The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) is behind a program to place homeownership within grasp for low and moderate-income homebuyers in Connecticut. 

For a limited time, the state is offering what’s been called the Time to Own down payment assistance loan, which is designed to make homeownership affordable for people on the lower end of the income spectrum. 

About the ‘Time to Own’ Program  

The CHFA will contribute $7 million to the program, which will be available through the upcoming state bond commission meeting. 

Afterward, the Authority expects that the Time to Own program will be renewed with a funding level of $20 million. As of October 20, more than half of the funds in the initial balance have already been accessed with a $3.4 million remaining. 

What to Expect 

The CHFA’s Time to Own program is a forgivable down payment assistance loan that aims to help prospective homebuyers who cannot afford down payment or closing costs on their own.

The Time to Own loan is accessible to eligible homebuyers alongside a CHFA first mortgage loan to go toward the purchase of their first home. 

The Time To Own down payment assistance loan is only half of it. Potential homebuyers can also harness the CHFA’s existing Down Payment Assistance (DAP) loan. To qualify for help, borrowers must prove their ability to make payments on the Authority’s mortgage loans. 

Loan Structure 

The Time to Own down payment assistance loan has a 10-year zero-percent non-amortizing term attached. For ten years, ten percent of the loan’s principal amount is forgiven annually – eventually resulting in full loan forgiveness. 

Time to Ownloans must be at least $3,000 and cannot surpass $50,000. With this budgeting flexibility, the program helps Connecticut home buyers afford properties with prices that would normally be out of reach for them. 

In particular, if the home is located on a tract of land that is considered either “high opportunity” or “very high opportunity” based on the state’s definition, the applicant can apply for a loan of as much as $50,000. Otherwise, the loan amount is capped at $25,000. Further details about high-opportunity or very-high-opportunity neighborhoods can be found here

Ultimately, the approved loan amount will depend on the borrower’s situation with the aim of lowering the homebuyer’s payment-to-income ratio to 30 percent or less. As a result, no more than 30 percent of the borrower’s gross monthly income will be directed toward the payment. Borrowers can direct their Time to Own down payment assistance loan in the following ways: 

  • As much as 20 percent of the loan amount toward a down payment 
  • As much as 5 percent of the loan amount toward closing costs 

Meanwhile, the Time to Own down payment assistance loan term cannot go beyond 10 years. 

How to Qualify

To qualify for a Time to Own loan, a borrower must currently be a resident of Connecticut. They must also be able to show they’ve been a consistent resident of the state for the past three years. In addition, the borrower must also meet certain qualifications and obtain a CHFA first mortgage loan, which the Authority’s first-time homebuyer loan underwriting standards will be applied to. 

The CHFA provides 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with interest rates below market levels to qualifying low-to-moderate income households in the state of Connecticut.

The borrower is free to use other down payment assistance programs alongside the Time to Own loan, including the CHFA’s existing down payment assistance program. If the applicant is not a first-time homebuyer, they might still qualify for the loan if the property is located in a designated area of Connecticut. However, they can’t own any other property when the CHFA closing rolls around.

The Time to Own program has limits tied to the homebuyer’s income and county which can be viewed here

CHFA participating lenders, including Total Mortgage Services, will work with borrowers to determine their eligibility. If you reside in the state of Connecticut and believe the Time to Own down payment assistance loan could help you on your home buying journey, contact one of our mortgage experts today.  

Connecticut Real Estate Market

Connecticut homeowners have been placing their properties on the market, which has boded well for inventory levels. Due to the current economic headwinds, including rising interest rates on mortgages and high inflation, homeowners have been responding with a trend of lowering the asking price on their homes to increase the chances of attracting homebuyers. 

Connecticut tends to follow the New York market in terms of dynamics. And according to the AEI Housing Center index, home prices remained even keel during the month of August. AEI Housing Center Director Ed Pinto predicts that home prices reached their peak in July of this year.

In a number of Connecticut municipalities (including Stamford), offers are coming in higher than the average listing price. However, that is not always the case. Out of just over two-dozen houses and condominiums listed for sale in Stamford over the summer, almost 20 of those homeowners also decided to lower the price by close to 5 percent in aggregate.  

Apply Through Total Mortgage 

The CHFA has partnered with lenders throughout the state, including Total Mortgage Services, to support the loan application process. If you live in Connecticut and could use help with a down payment or closing costs, reach out to your local Total Mortgage representative today for answers to any questions you may have about the program or to access the loan application. Find out if you qualify today.

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