It’s hard to say how many prospective first-time home buyers people have struggled to buy a home in the current housing market with high demand, low inventory and multiple buyers competing for the same property, making it feel impossible to achieve the American dream of homeownership.
The good news is Zillow has announced a partnership with Down Payment Resource to help prospective home buyers find down payment assistance programs that can make homeownership more within reach.
Home listings on Zillow now include information about the number of potential down payment assistance programs that may be available to buyers searching for homes on its platform.
Home shoppers can input some basic information that is run through Down Payment Resource’s extensive database, which then populates a list of all potentially available programs. Buyers will see a specific maximum amount of assistance offered and links to gather more details. This feature can be found on all eligible for-sale listings nationwide.
“We want everyone to have access to resources that can help overcome common barriers to homeownership like the difficulty of saving for a down payment, which is especially challenging within underrepresented communities,” said Grace Chung, Zillow’s director of social impact. “Down payment assistance programs provide a viable pathway to homeownership, which can help build generational wealth and economic opportunity for many that may not have been able to imagine it for themselves. Information is power, and Zillow is proud to partner with Down Payment Resource to shed more light on these important programs.”
Over the past year, skyrocketing home prices have made it harder for potential buyers to save for a down payment. In Zillow surveys, two-thirds of buyers considered affording the down payment as a barrier to homeownership. First-time buyers should expect to spend a year longer saving for a down payment than they would have needed five years ago.
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Many buyers may not be aware of the programs that could help them with their down payment, closing costs or taxes. All 3,143 U.S. counties have at least one down payment assistance program, and more than 2,000 counties have 10 or more available programs. According to an analysis conducted by Down Payment Resource, the estimated average benefit of a down payment assistance program today is approximately $17,000.
“Millions of people may be more qualified to buy a home than they realize, and partnering with Zillow is a great opportunity to help guide these individuals from dreaming to reality,” said Rob Chrane, CEO and founder of Down Payment Resource. “We’ve worked for many years to curate the most expansive list of affordable homeownership resources available. Nearly every community is served by some type of assistance program, and it’s our mission to get this information into the hands of those that need it.”
This feature was developed and launched by Zillow’s Social Impact Product team, a specialized group of engineers and product managers dedicated to creating positive change in the housing marketplace. It’s another milestone in Zillow’s broader social impact strategy to provide products and solutions that help people unlock life’s next chapter such as the LGBT Local Legal Protections and the Housing Connector search tool.
Down Payment Resource tracks more than 2,200 affordable lending programs nationwide, of which more than 73% specifically support down payment or closing cost assistance. Many of these programs vary by location and are often offered by state, county or city governments.