Bucks County is expanding its First Time Homebuyer Program with a five year monetary injection. With $325,000 per year, the county will be able to issue more loans for approved households to help those new to the housing market.
Now in its 25th year, the program is specifically designed to help new homebuyers with closing costs or down-payments. These no-interest loans can go up to $10,000. To qualify, families must earn less than the Bucks median income, which is about $90,000.
Along with the loan, recipients must pariticpate in four hours of home ownership counseling. The Bucks County Housing Group administers the counseling so people can navigate the intimidating process of buying a home for the first time.
One new homeowner used the program two years ago to buy her first home. Melissa Centifonti now proudly lives in Levittown.
“The counseling was hugely helpful,” said Centifonti. “I was able to feel confident in my budget and that I could handle all the responsibilities of buying a house and maintaining it.”
Bucks estimates about 720 first-time homebuyers have taken advantage of this program since 1994. County Commissioner Chairman Rob Loughery said this new funding is a significant investment.
“We’re going to double the size of this program … which will probably help another 150 households on top of what we’re already doing,” Loughery said Tuesday.
County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia says the county as a whole benefits when homeowners can live and work in Bucks.
“It is really important to have quality housing so that you can get up every day and face the day, take care of your children, take care of a job,” Marseglia said. “I live in Levittown; it’s the affordable section of housing in Bucks County, and it has been a long time since there has been new, affordable housing.”