TRENTON, NJ — Homeowners, and prospective home buyers, in New Jersey have three new avenues to make their dream an affordable reality under a set of bills recently signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy.
The three new laws prioritize housing investments and initiatives in an effort to make New Jersey a more affordable place to live, work, and raise a family according to the governor's office.
“As we strive to make New Jersey more affordable for all, we must ensure we remove barriers that prevent people from becoming homeowners,” said Governor Murphy. “Stable and affordable housing has the potential to be transformative in people’s lives as well as our communities. I am proud to sign legislation that will not only expand opportunities for first-time homebuyers and those seeking affordable housing, but will further advance our state as the best place in the nation to raise a family.”
The three new laws will:
- Establish the Urban Preservation Program within the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). Supported by an $80 million investment of federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds in the FY2024 budget, the Program allows investments in rehabilitation and reconstruction projects dedicated to preserving affordable housing in urban areas.
- Expand certain State programmatic interventions related to residential foreclosures. Supported by a $15 million investment of ARP funds in the FY2024 budget, this bill provides NJHMFA with a broader set of tools to intervene in foreclosures, keeping New Jerseyans in their homes and rehabilitating and reselling vacant homes.
- Codify and expand NJHMFA’s immensely successful down payment assistance program, building on the Governor’s Wealth Disparity Task Force’s work to ensure meaningful benefits specifically for first-generation homebuyers. The law also establishes Resilient Home Construction Pilot Program in DCA to provide funding for developers to rehabilitate existing homes and construct new affordable homes for sale.
Burlington County State Senator Troy Singleton, who serves as the chair of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee, was a main sponsor of the legislation.
“Owning a home is a key component of the American Dream and critical to creating generational wealth,” said Singleton, who represents Mount Laurel in the Legislature. “But, for so many, saving enough for the necessary down payment has made homeownership unattainable and those that do manage to buy a home are often one catastrophe away from losing it."
"By providing financial assistance to first-time homebuyers and expanding access to foreclosure intervention, we can make homeownership more affordable, accessible and most importantly, sustainable," added Singleton.
The governor's office says that these new laws build on over five years of investments in housing affordability. For instance, over the past three years, more than $1.3 billion in ARP State Fiscal Recovery Fund (SFRF) dollars have been used for housing they say.
Adam Gordon, executive director of the Fair Share Housing Center located in Mount Laurel, praised the Administration for its efforts.
“By maintaining and rehabilitating public and affordable housing in New Jersey's cities, the Urban Preservation Program will help keep families in their homes and prevent displacement. And the First-Generation Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance Program will help close our state's massive racial wealth gap by giving lower-income Black and Brown families, historically redlined out of opportunity, access to building generational wealth."