Ruiz, Singleton Bill to Expand Down Payment Assistance Program for Certain Homebuyers Advances

TRENTON – The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Troy Singleton that would modify and expand the down payment assistance loan program for first-time and first-generation homebuyers.

“Home prices in New Jersey increased by double digits in 2021 and have continued to increase every year since then. Homeownership remains a key component for building generational wealth, but not all families have had equal purchasing opportunities,” said Majority Leader Ruiz (D-Essex). “This bill will work to assist and support first-gen, as well as first-time homebuyers who lack access to capital. Without initiatives like this one, the dream of owning a home will continue to remain out of reach for many families.”

The bill, S-1446, concerns the first-time and first-generation down payment assistance program established in June of 2023. Specifically, the bill would adjust the loan award amount to be offered through the loan program from $15,000 to $20,000. The definition of “first-generation homebuyer” and “first-time homebuyer” would be modified to have more expansive definitions, including those who may have had a member of their household purchase property within the last three years and those who are or were homeless unaccompanied youth.

“By expanding the eligibility for this program, and increasing the loan amounts offered to first-time and first-generation homebuyers, we are helping even more families who lack the means to save for a down payment on their own,” said Senator Singleton, Chair of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. “Owning a home is an integral part of the American Dream, and this expanded program will be critical to helping families across the state access homeownership and build generational wealth.”

The bill was advanced in a 5-0 vote.