Bill to Assist First-Generation Homebuyers Advances

TRENTON – In an effort to expand access to homeownership, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz, which would appropriate $25 million to provide financial assistance to certain first-generation homebuyers.

“Owning a home is a key component of the American Dream and critical to creating generational wealth,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington), Chair of the Committee. “But, for so many, saving enough for the necessary down payment has made homeownership unattainable. By providing grants to first-time and first-generation homebuyers, this legislation will make homeownership both more affordable and accessible, especially in this housing market.”

The bill, S-3780, would provide down payment assistance and provide tax credits to developers that commit to construct or reconstruct housing for certain low to moderate income households. The bill would appropriate $25 million from the General Fund to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) to implement the first-generation homebuyer loan program.

“Homeownership remains a key component for building generational wealth. For too long the dream of owning a home has been out of reach due to rising home prices, interest rates and down payment costs,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “On top of all this, for decades, the cost of living has gone up while wages have remained largely stagnant. Every family deserves to own a place of their own, and this bill will work to assist and support those looking to buy a house.”

Currently, the NJHMFA administers a down payment assistance program for qualified first-time homebuyers. However, the payment is in the form of a $10,000 to $15,000 forgivable loan and must be paired with an NJHMFA first mortgage loan. The program established under the bill would make the first-time homebuyer loan consistent throughout the state at $15,000, while first-generation homebuyers would be eligible for an additional $10,000.

The committee also advanced S-3779, sponsored by Senator Singleton, which would require the Division of Purchase and Property to analyze the feasibility of developing, redeveloping, or renovating the various parcels of real property owned by the State for use as low and moderate-income housing.

The bills were released from Committee by a vote of 5-0 and 5-0, respectively.