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Assistance with downpayments needed

Warwick Jones, Editor

Housing in Charleston may be much cheaper than many other parts of the nation. But then again, wages and salaries are much lower. Consequently, owning a house in beyond the reach of many folk. The need to help these people has spawned a number of programs the most important of which are funded largely with funds from HUD. The Cities and County also provide funds and to departments that are manged by them. They also support The Bank Consortium which provides low-cost loans and assists with closing costs on home purchases. I have no issues with these things except to say that I wish there were more transparency in the City's financings relating to affordable housing. We know how the money goes out but no records are kept (or available) about how it is spent.

As one who has extensive dealings with low income home buyers trying to borrow for a home, I find the major problem is obtaining a meanigful downpayment This is not a problem if borrowers fall into certain income bands and have a reasonable credit score which enables them to get a special loan from a bank or agency. But it is a problem for all others. What we need to help the poor is a special program to allow borrowers to obtain a downpayment of 10% or so. In this way, the borrowers will save substantially through a likely lower interest rate on a loan. Borrowers could access bank funds rathert than using the more expensive services of a mortgage broker.

Alas, pointing to the problem does not solve it. There are benefactors in the community that do provide this special assistance though I know of none in Charleston. Maybe some charitable institutions can help by raising funds that will be tax deductible for the subscribers and which can be lent to potential borrowers on an interest free basis for say 5 years?

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