SAN DIEGO — With high home prices, and rising interest rates, it may seem impossible to buy a home in San Diego.
But, the San Diego Housing Commission says it has millions of dollars in federal, state and local funding to help new home buyers with down payments, and they want more people to take advantage of it.
"I feel happy because I never could have imagined it," said Beatriz Lopez who used the program to buy a three-bedroom, two bathroom condo in Otay Mesa.
It's much bigger than the one bedroom apartment she used to rent.
Owning it, she says, is something she never imagined was possible.
Lopez has a fixed income and says the only way she was able to purchase the home was through the San Diego Housing Commission, which provides 22% down payment loans to low income buyers.
Sujata Raman, who oversees the program, broke down what that would look like for a $600,000 home.
“Twenty-two percent is $132,000. They're required to put down three percent which is $18,000, and then they're getting a first mortgage for just $450,000, so their monthly payment is low and that helps qualify them to buy a home," said Raman.
To qualify, buyers must make less than 80% of San Diego's median income.
"So, a family of four needs to make below $104,100 a year to be able to qualify for our programs," said Raman.
Also, you need to have a steady income so you can afford the mortgage.
As for paying back the loan, the interest rate is three-percent, but no money is owed until you sell, or refinance, within 30 years.
The program helps people in both the city and county of San Diego, as well as neighboring cities, including Chula Vista, and in the coming weeks, El Cajon.
It's been around for decades, but what's unique right now, is the fact there are still millions of dollars left to help people this fiscal year.
"In years past, we would run out of money within a few months of us opening the program, and loan officers and buyers alike would wait until the next fiscal year until more money was available but because it's become challenging and there's a low inventory of homes being sold in San Diego….we still have money to help buyers," said Raman.
To help people even more in this competitive market, the Housing Commission now offers pre-approvals and a guaranteed 30-day close.
If you're interested, the first step is to check out the San Diego Housing Commission website to see if your income qualifies, then contact one of their listed loan officers to walk you through the process.
Lopez is happy she did, saying being a homeowner still feels like a dream.