Suffolk County has opened the application period for this year’s Down Payment Assistance Program, which has more than doubled the amount of available assistance from previous years.
Through the program, eligible first-time homebuyers are now provided up to $30,000 towards the purchase of a single-family residence if they live in the home for at least 10 years. The buyer is responsible for the balance of the down payment and all the closing costs.
Launched in 1993, the assistance program can be utilized for down payments of homes purchased in the towns of Huntington, Smithtown, Riverhead, Southampton, Southold, East Hampton and Shelter Island, though some villages are excluded.
“We take immense pride in contributing towards making our residents’ dreams of owning a home a reality,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a county statement. “In the past we offered up to $14,000 per homeowner with the condition that they live in the home for five years. This year we are upping it to $30,000 per homeowner with the condition they live in the home for 10 years. This is critical to allow more people to take part in this incredible opportunity to become a homeowner.”
Prospective applicants are required to attend housing counseling prior to submitting an application, and a mortgage counseling certificate is required for applying to the program. The first-time buyer qualification will be waived for U.S. military veterans who have a certificate of release or discharge from active duty verifying honorable discharge, according to the statement.
The eligibility requirements stipulate that an applicant must be a first-time homebuyer; must represent a low to moderate income household with an annual income not exceeding 80 percent of the area median income; must have at least $3,000 banked at the time of application and have a documented minimum income of at least $40,000 and be able to obtain a mortgage from a qualified lender.
The maximum appraised value of an existing home cannot exceed $532,000 and can’t exceed $555,000 for a newly constructed home to qualify for the down payment assistance. Eligible properties include single-family homes, condominiums, and cooperative apartments.
The program is accepting applications on a rolling basis through March 31, 2024.