How to get help buying a home in San Francisco
San Francisco's expensive housing market is the city's worst-kept secret.
What's happening: A lesser-known secret is that San Francisco has a variety of programs for first-time homebuyers with low to moderate incomes, including ones that help residents with downpayment assistance.
Why it matters: Coming up with funds to make a downpayment is one of the biggest barriers to homeownership.
💭 Our thought bubble: Megan here. In 2019, I received $375,000 in down-payment assistance from the city as part of San Francisco's Downpayment Assistance Loan Program (DALP).
- The no-interest, 30-year deferred loan enabled me to buy a market-rate one-bedroom condo that I otherwise would not have been able to afford.
- This year, I sold that condo, paying back the city and enabling them to lend that money to another household.
"[These programs] are an important part of ensuring equitable and achievable homeownership," Anne Stanley, a spokesperson with the mayor's office of housing, told Axios via email.
By the numbers: From July 2021 through June 2022, the DALP program helped 67 low- to moderate-income households, resulting in the distribution of more than $19.9 million, according to the mayor's office of housing.
- Between 2022 and 2024, the program anticipates serving up to 70 households.
Of note: The DALP program has only served five Black people in the last five to six years, Saidah Leatutufu-Burch, the director of the city's Dream Keeper Initiative (DKI), told Axios.
- She said the DALP program doesn't serve a large Black population for a few reasons, including the program's lottery system that randomizes who gets the financial aid.
- But Leatutufu-Burch said that some within the Black community also haven't applied because they feel they don't belong, and that's partly what prompted the creation of DKI, a city initiative to reinvest $60 million annually into S.F.'s Black community.
- Since launching in 2021, DKI has already helped 19 Black people purchase homes in the city through its own down-payment assistance program.
What they're saying: Leatutufu-Burch said it's important that city programs are accessible to a wide variety of people when talking about "creating a home in San Francisco or planting roots in San Francisco, as well as building some level of housing stability in San Francisco."
Between the lines: Despite these housing programs geared toward first-time homebuyers, there's still the issue of S.F.'s housing shortage.
- San Francisco must build 82,000 housing units over the next eight years as part of a state-mandated plan.
- New housing construction in 2022, however, declined 46% from 2021, according to the city's planning department.
What to watch: The mayor's office of housing plans to open applications for the 2023 DALP program soon. You can get email alerts by signing up here.
- Meanwhile, Mayor London Breed recently introduced legislation designed to speed up the process of approving new housing projects.
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