/ Modified apr 17, 2024 1:06 p.m.

‘Arizona is Home’ mortgage assistance program kickstarts statewide homeownership drive

Empowering first-time buyers and expanding housing access across Arizona.

Real estate house key in door hero A key in a door lock.

The Arizona is Home mortgage down-payment assistance program is underway.

Governor Katie Hobbs announced, that first-time homebuyers in Arizona, who are at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), are eligible to receive up to $30,000, and those falling between 81% and 120% AMI, are eligible for up to $20,000 to be used as a down payment, interest rate buy-down or for closing costs.

Joan Serviss, CEO of the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH), said the department is pleased to join Governor Hobbs’ initiative in hopes of changing the landscape of homeownership throughout the state.

“They’ll have an opportunity to work with HUD-approved housing counseling agencies… specifically Chicanos Por La Causa and Trellis, [that] will support them through enhanced down payment assistance and mortgage interest rate relief,” Serviss said.

HUD stands for Housing and Urban Development.

The initiative targets home buyers in Maricopa and Pima counties and potential homebuyers are required to take an 8-hour homebuyer education class and meet with a home ownership advisor.

On the program’s webpage, the ADOH says “assistance is being offered as a silent second mortgage that is due on sale.”

Serviss noted that the program received $10 million in funding from last year’s bipartisan budget, allocated to the State Housing Trust Fund, a fund that ADOH oversees and is a conduit of state and federal funding for housing programs.

Additionally, a one-time $3 million allocation will come from the federal American Rescue Plan (ARPA) dollars from the state.

“In addition to the $10 million that we’ve dedicated to the Arizona at Home program, we continue to allocate funds to different activities, including creating more affordable rental housing for folks that homeownership is not necessarily a priority but they may need access to more affordable rental housing,” Serviss said.

She said that the department conducted numerous stakeholder meetings with individuals wanting to know how those funds should be invested.

“Repeatedly people said [to] invest these significant housing dollars into a wide array of housing opportunities from addressing unsheltered homelessness all the way to creating homeownership opportunities,” Serviss said.

In partnership with the Department of Housing, the Arizona Industrial Development Authority (AZIDA) will also offer a below-market 30-year fixed mortgage rate coupled with 4% down payment assistance, to first-time homebuyers in rural counties throughout the state, including Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai and Yuma counties.

Serviss added that in addition to the launch of this program, Governor Hobbs has enabled the department to do other home-ownership activities such as funding the construction and rehabilitation of homes for sale to low or moderate-income eligible individuals.

“The investment that was made at the state level last year has really propelled housing-related activities, whether it be through homeownership, addressing our affordable housing crisis definitely on the rental side and then supporting folks who are unsheltered and getting them the help they need,” Serviss said.

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