Habitat for Humanity develops new mortgage program for first-time homebuyers

A past dedication ceremony for a house built for a family in north Minneapolis by Habitat for Humanity. The organization in April 2019 announced a new mortgage program targeting those who have faced barriers to home ownership. Photo: Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, which has a mission of eliminating poverty housing, has developed a new program to help first-time homebuyers who have faced barriers to buying a home through traditional mortgage lenders.

Under the program, homebuyers can buy on the open market using Habitat’s affordable, fixed-rate mortgage. They can even work with the Realtor of their choice, complete Habitat’s homeownership education and buy a home in their preferred neighborhood or city.

The new program reaches a broader income range, including those who may think their income is too high to qualify. Households earning $40,000-$80,000 have successfully bought a home in Habitat’s redesigned homeownership program.

The program revolves around an “unbeatable mortgage,” a 30-year fixed-rate with monthly payments set to no more than 30 percent of income. Down payment assistance may be available.

The mortgage program was made possible by an innovative partnership with Bremer Bank. It is the largest program of its kind among Habitat affiliates in the country and serves as a national model.

“The need to open access to housing has never been greater, especially for first-time homebuyers and underserved populations,” said Chris Coleman, President and CEO of Twin Cities Habitat and the former St. Paul Mayor. “We are excited about the mortgage program’s ability to serve residents throughout the metro area.”

Coleman noted that 1 in 4 Minnesota households are cost-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Minnesota’s racial gap in homeownership is among the worst in the nation. Seventy-six percent of white households own homes compared with 22 percent of black households. Forty percent of all households of color own homes.

Interested residents can find more information on the mortgage program at: www.BuyWithHabitat.org or by calling 612-540-5660.

Habitat also works with Realtors: https://www.buywithhabitat.org/realtor

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