Local News

Incentive programs target first-time homebuyers

Posted August 12, 2008 4:50 p.m. EDT
Updated August 13, 2008 11:03 a.m. EDT

— In two months, Will Hartye will move into his two-story home, which cost less than $200,000. A city program for first-time homeowners helped Hartye get a good price on the house.

“I still don’t think it’s sunk in quite yet,” Hartye said.

The Raleigh program set a cap that kept Hartye’s home from being priced higher than $200,000 for a first-time homebuyer. The home is in a revitalized area of downtown.

Hartye may also be eligible for a new federal program for first-time homeowners that offers $7,500 as a tax credit in the purchase year, though it has to be repaid over 15 years. The credit, a no interest loan that must be paid back, applies to homes purchased after April 9 of this year and before July 1, 2009. Repayments begin two years after the credit is taken.

These types of new incentives are pushing more people like Hartye to become homebuyers, said Brooke Hipes, a realtor with Keller and Williams Realty in Cary. Hipes hosts a free weekly meeting at which people thinking about buying their first homes can get information and share tips.

“We have seen an increase. I’d like to see more. I think there are still people who are reluctant,” Hipes said.

After selecting a home, buyers will meet with a mortgage lender. The trend of loose lending led to foreclosures, causing many banks and lenders to tighten up who they loan money to, VanDyk Mortgage lender Roland Carrillo said.

However, Carrillo said lenders will focus on the complete picture, not just a good credit score.

“What lenders want to focus on is your income history, your employment history and what your emergency fund is,” Carrillo said.