Down Payment Trends Driving Homeownership Accessibility

Down Payment Resource (DPR) has released its Q4 2023 Homeownership Program Index (HPI) report, which showed that approximately 135 homebuyer assistance programs were introduced in 2023 to help combat U.S. housing affordability.

In an effort to increase homeownership during a year when home affordability reached a level that was nearly four decades below the national average, DPR reported that homebuyer assistance programs are trending among the nation’s 2,294 affordability initiatives.

“As the housing market grappled with historic affordability challenges in 2023, our HPI report reveals a critical response: the introduction of 135 innovative homebuyer assistance programs—an estimated 6% increase over the previous year,” said Rob Chrane, Founder and CEO of DPR. “This surge in programs, which now totals 2,294 nationwide, represents a concerted effort by housing agencies to expand opportunities and break down barriers to homeownership.”

Key HPI Report Findings:

An examination of the existing 2,294 U.S. homebuyer assistance programs on January 8 found the following:

  • An estimated 804 programs allow for the purchase of a manufactured home, up 20% from the previous year. Housing agencies are expanding program eligibility to include more property types. Manufactured housing has a lower entry point than other types of homes and is helping many buyers get their foot in the door. DPR expects to see the number of programs that allow for manufactured housing continue to grow.
  • Approximately 686 programs allow for the purchase of a multi-family property, up 8% from the previous year. Using DPA to purchase a multi-family property has become increasingly popular. This allows people to become homebuyers as well as investors—a strategy that has been called “house hacking” in recent years. In addition to completing a homebuyer education class, borrowers purchasing a multi-family home with homebuyer assistance typically have to go through classes on being a landlord to ensure long-term sustainability.
  • Some 448 programs are funded by state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs), up 2% from the previous year. Programs from state HFAs account for 20% of all programs. About 86 programs are offered through Florida’s State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP), up 12 programs from Q4 2022. Florida Housing’s SHIP program funds are distributed on an entitlement basis to all 67 counties and 55 Community Development Block Grant entitlement cities in Florida. SHIP dollars may be used to fund emergency repairs, new construction, rehabilitation, down payment and closing cost assistance, impact fees, construction and gap financing, mortgage buy-downs, the acquisition of property for affordable housing, matching dollars for federal housing grants and programs, and homeownership counseling.
  • Some 922 programs are available through municipalities, up 5% from the previous year. There has been steady growth in programs from municipalities, especially in states with high home prices like California, where many homebuyers struggle with affordability. Around 475 DPA programs are available through nonprofits, up 15% from the previous year.
  • About 194 programs are “incentive” programs, meaning they target a segment of homebuyers by profession or ethnicity. In Q4 2023, there was a 47% increase in programs YoY for service members and veterans and a 13% increase in programs targeting Native American homebuyers.

“With a significant increase in programs for manufactured homes, multi-family properties, and specific buyer demographics like service members and Native Americans, this year’s report underscores a growing commitment to diversify housing solutions and empower a broader spectrum of aspiring homeowners,” said Chrane.

To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.

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Demetria C. Lester

Demetria C. Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for MortgagePoint (formerly DS News and MReport) with more than eight years of writing and editing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is a jazz aficionado, Harry Potter fanatic, and likes to read. She can be reached at demetria.lester@thefivestar.com.
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