Want a $25,000 Stimulus Payment? Simple: Buy a House (If You Qualify)

Want a $25,000 Stimulus Payment? Simple: Buy a House (If You Qualify)

To become eligible for the aid the buyers “must have an income at or below 120 percent of area median income (AMI) for either the area where the home being purchased is located or the area where the home buyer’s place of residence is located.”

 

Here's What You Need to Remember: Buyers can receive up to $20,000, a number that rises to $25,000 if the person in question is a “socially and economically disadvantaged individual.”

President Joe Biden has proposed a piece of legislation called the Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021. The bill proposes $25,000 for some first-time homebuyers, but only those who are first-generation homebuyers, and are economically disadvantaged.

 

According to an overview of the legislation by the National Council of State Housing Agencies, the Downpayment Toward Equity Act takes the form of a grant program for states, while it’s not been determined exactly how much funding the program will receive. The program, if the bill is passed, would be administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

To become eligible for the aid the buyers “must have an income at or below 120 percent of area median income (AMI) for either the area where the home being purchased is located or the area where the home buyer’s place of residence is located.”

Also to be eligible, the homebuyers must have either never owned a home before, have parents or guardians who never owned a home in the buyer’s lifetime, or had parents or guardians who had a home but lost it to foreclosure. Buyers will also qualify if they were raised in foster care.

Buyers can receive up to $20,000, a number that rises to $25,000 if the person in question is a “socially and economically disadvantaged individual.” The former is defined as “those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.”

The money is not a tax credit, but the money is available at closing.

Not everyone thinks the proposed legislation is a good idea.

RealTrends argued last month that the proposal runs the risk of failing to learn some of the lessons of the housing crash of 2008.

“There’s a forest fire burning, so let’s pour gasoline on it,” Steve Murray, a RealTrends real estate expert, said. “Demand is not the problem right now. Access to capital is not the problem right now. There are numerous low-downpayment programs from the U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and other entities offered to anyone who qualifies based on income.”

“The federal government is missing the most important thing, which is, instead of pouring billions of dollars into a first-time homebuyer program, what they ought to be doing is finding a way to focus that money on affordable first-time houses,” he added.

It’s not clear how likely the bill, which is currently under consideration by the House Financial Services Committee, is to pass through Congress. Reuters reported that some social media posts had falsely claimed the bill had already passed into law.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver. This article first appeared earlier this week.

Image: Reuters.