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The U.S. housing market hasn’t been too friendly to first-time homebuyers for some time. In fact, potential homebuyers have experienced a double whammy of sorts that has kept many of them on the sidelines.

The first “whammy” was home prices, which rose to record levels in recent years. The second was interest rates, which have more than doubled since the beginning of 2022, increasing the average mortgage payment by more than 50%.

Recently, however, home prices in many markets have started to cool, giving first-time buyers some much needed breathing room. But to realize their dreams of homeownership, many still need help.

What is Happening with Prices

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home price for a single-family home in the third quarter of 2022 was $398,500, up 8.6% from the previous year. However, that’s slightly lower than the median price of $412,700 in the second quarter.

Economists at Wells Fargo recently projected that the median price for an existing single-family home will fall from $385,000 at the end of 2022 to $364,000 by the end of 2023, a 5.5% decrease. The primary reason, the economists said, is higher interest rates, which soared from the beginning of 2022 to November. The spike in interest rates has already reduced the demand for homes, so many home sellers have been lowering their prices.

Still, it’s unlikely that home prices will drop as sharply as they did during the Great Recession. Today, home mortgages are underwritten much more soundly, and the average homeowner is generally in better financial shape. If interest rates remain high, however, home prices will probably not pick up in the foreseeable future.

Where Opportunity Lies

Lower home prices are making it slightly easier for first-time buyers to get into a home. And one way to help clients grasp this opportunity is to counsel them on the potential advantages of buying a smaller-sized home.

Prices are naturally lower for a two-bedroom single family home or condo than a three-bedroom single family home. And smaller homes are often considered less desirable than larger homes, so your clients are more likely to get a deal. At the same time, smaller homes generally increase in value over time, so your clients may be able to grow their home equity over time.

Even with smaller-sized homes, there is still one more obstacle to overcome – the down payment. Many first-time buyers, particularly people of color and Millennials, simply don’t have sufficient funds saved up to make a down payment without putting themselves in financial peril.

Give Your Clients a Lift

That’s why you should counsel your clients on the potential advantages of down payment assistance, or DPA. This way, your clients who don’t have a lot of savings and aren’t able to get financial help from other sources can still buy a home.

Thankfully, there are a wide number of homebuyer assistance options to choose from. One great option is the Chenoa Fund, CBC Mortgage Agency’s DPA program, which has provided financial help to thousands of borrowers over the years, enabling them to get into their dream home.

With the Chenoa Fund down payment assistance program, qualified clients can get DPA for up to 5% of their home price. Qualified clients can also receive counseling both before and after they buy their home to ensure their transition to homeownership is a success.

To find out more about how the Chenoa Fund down payment assistance program may be able to help your clients take advantage of falling home prices and start experiencing the potential advantages of homeownership, give us a call today at 866-563-3507 or visit our website.

CBC Mortgage Agency – NMLS 1186381

For licensing information, go to Residential Mortgage License #MB.6761292. Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Banking, 100 West Randolph, 9th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601 – 1-888-473-4858. This information is provided by CBC Mortgage Agency and intended for real estate and mortgage professionals only. It is not intended for public use or distribution. Terms and conditions of programs and guidelines are subject to change at any time without notice. This is not a commitment to lend. Equal housing opportunity.