COVINGTON, Ky. — For the second time in three years, the City of Covington is increasing the maximum amount of financial help it’ll give to qualifying families buying a home.
Thanks to a recent vote of the Covington Board of Commissioners, homebuyers can now get up to $10,000 to help with a down payment and other upfront costs. The money comes in the form of a 10-year loan, but the interest rate is 0% and 10 percent of the loan is forgiven or written off each year the buyer stays in that home.
The loan amount had previously been increased in 2020 to $7,500 from $5,000.
“Home prices are higher, interest rates are high, and the competition for homes continues to get worse,” said John David Hammons, who coordinates the Homebuyer Assistance Program for Covington. “With this $2,500 increase, we hope to expand both the number of people financially able to buy a home and the number of homes available to them.”
Since 2014, more than 386 home-buyers have received assistance through the program, with properties spread throughout virtually every neighborhood in Covington. The largest numbers are in the residential neighborhoods of Latonia, South Covington, Peaselburg, and Austinburg.
Covington has set aside $350,000 for the program in the city for the fiscal year that began July 1.
The Homebuyer Assistance Program is one of several programs and initiatives the City operates to promote affordable housing in Covington.
How it works
- Applicants who meet income and credit requirements are given a 10-year loan of up to $10,000 to be used toward a down payment, closing costs, settlement charges, and/or to “buy down” the interest rate on the primary mortgage.
- The interest on the City’s loan is 0 percent and payback is deferred. Some 10 percent of the loan amount is forgiven each year that the person stays in the house.
- Applicants must receive housing counseling to prepare them for the buying process and understand the long-term costs of owning a home.
- In addition to the increased amount of assistance, other program guidelines were updated to reflect pressures in the housing market, Hammons said. These include an increase in the allowable sales price of homes eligible for the program, and big jumps in the income eligibility cut-offs. In fact, he said, the jump in income levels are the highest he’s ever seen.
“The City is responding to the facts on the ground – homes are getting harder to afford for the low- to moderate-income families that this program was designed to help,” Hammons said. “With these funds, we’re helping people buy homes who quite simply would not have been able to do so.”
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