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'California Dream for All' program could help thousands of first-time home buyers

The program would provide 17% toward the purchase price of a first home, in the form of a loan that would be repaid when the buyer later sells the home.

SAN DIEGO — Thousands of Californians hoping to become first-time home buyers and achieve the "American Dream" could benefit from an innovative program that's part of the proposed state budget. 

The "California Dream for All" program would help low and moderate-income Californians to come up with their down payment.

This program would be a loan, not a grant, with the proceeds eventually  helping other Californians achieve the same dream of owning a home, later on down the road.

"I think anything extra we can get...which is a sign of the times right now," said Maureen Martin, a mortgage broker with HomePlus Mortgage here in San Diego. 

She has worked for more than two decades with first-time home buyers, helping them navigate the daunting process of purchasing a house or condo.

"This whole industry is challenges beyond a lot of people's control," she told CBS 8. 

One of the most formidable challenges in buying a first home is often coming up with the down payment, especially in San Diego County, where the median sale price currently exceeds $840,000.

Under State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins' proposal, the "California Dream for All" program would provide 17% toward the purchase price of a first home.

When the home buyer refinances or sell the home, the state would be reimbursed for the 17% share of the home's value, and those funds would be then re-invested into the program to help more Californians break into the housing market.

The program would be funded by issuing revenue bonds of one-billion dollars a year for ten years, and is expected to help about 7,700 borrowers annually.

In a statement, Atkins, who is from San Diego, said:

"The California Dream for All program will give more people the chance to break free from the cycle of renting, become the first in their families to own a home, and make it possible for more people to set their children and grandchildren on a path to success. This has the ability to change people's lives."

Martin is optimistic this program could help some families.

"It totally could, absolutely," she said. "It is just going to depend on the purchase price, and their income levels, as to whether or not they qualify for it,"

Here in San Diego County, for example, those levels are currently capped at $72.900 for a single person, and $104.100 for a family of four.

For first-time home buyers in particular, Martin preaches patience, warning them not to rush into a hasty purchasing decision.

"Continue to save, continue to work on your credit," she said, "and continue to believe that it is possible."

This program has been included as part of the state's $300 billion legislative budget agreement, which Governor Gavin Newsom has until the end of the month to sign. 

WATCH RELATED: San Diego buyers and sellers dealing with housing market changes (June 2022)

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