Down Payment Assistance For Bay Area Real Estate Buyers

By: KeithRockmael

Bay Area real estate prices may be a challenge to many potential home buyers but many renters may not realize that some Bay Area cities offer down payment assistance (DPA) for first time homebuyers. Think how much easier it would be to buy a home if a city kicked in $40,000 to $200,000 for a down payment?

AS WITH MANY GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS SOME OF these programs run out of funds such as Santa Clara County which recently ended their SCC40K Downpayment Assistance.Program. That doesn’t mean that it won’t reappear at some point in the future. If a city no longer offers down payment assistance funds it would be wise to check their status in the future. These programs come and go so being diligent can pay off.

Finding the DPA programs remains a challenge because no central clearinghouse of info exists. Anyone interested might Google various DPA searches for the city they are interested in. Many cities have discontinued their programs however Walnut Creek, San Francisco, and San Jose still have DPA programs.

The information below represents a short overview of the available programs. Keep in mind that things change so best to do some due diligence beforehand.

The City of Walnut Creek is offering interest-free equity share loans to qualifying homebuyers as part of its First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program. To be eligible to participate in the City of Walnut Creek’s First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program, the following criteria must be met:

• The borrower(s) must have lived or have been working within the incorporated limits of the City for at least 90 days prior to applying for the program.

• The borrower(s) cannot have owned a home, nor have (jointly) owned a home within the last three years.

• The borrower(s) must be able to pay 1/2 of the closing costs, and put at least 3% down.

• The borrower(s) must:

a. Make the home their principal place of residence;

b. Covenant not to rent or lease the home during the period of the City loan; and

c. Occupy the home within 60 days of close of escrow.

• Housing costs cannot exceed 35% of 110% of Area Median Income.based on household size except as may be adjusted to reflect Mortgage Credit Certificates.

• Housing costs are defined as principle, interest, taxes, insurance and Homeowner Association (HOA) fees.

• For 2015, household income cannot exceed 120% of Area Median Income:

* $78,550 for 1 person

* $89,750/2 persons

* $101,000/3 persons

* $112,200/4 persons

* $121,200/5 persons

* $130,150/6 persons

* $139,150/7 persons

* $148,100/8 persons

• The home to be purchased must be within the incorporated limits of the City of Walnut Creek.

In San Jose, the Skyline Homebuyer Program offers City downpayment assistance loans for designated units. Funds from a private lender and the household are used for the remainder of the purchase price.

San Jose offers downpayment assistance for these three developments:

• The Globe (designated condominium units will have City down payment assistance)

• Skyline (designated condominium units will have City down payment assistance).

* Tierra Encantada Townhomes – coming soon (8 to 12 townhomes will have City down payment assistance). For information, email the developer:

San Francisco offers a generous DPA up to $200,000 with talk of potentially raising that amount above $300,000 in the near future. The San Francisco Down Payment Assistance Loan Program (DALP) is a down payment and closing cost assistance loan to low-moderate income first time homebuyers purchasing(a single family home or condo in City and County of San Francisco.(The DALP is a silent second loan that requires no payments for(40 years. The principal amount plus an equitable share of the appreciation shall become due and payable at the end of the term, or repaid upon sale or transfer.

If anyone requires more information feel free to contact me.

Editor’s Note:

Keith Rockmael is a POA and real estate advocate and agent. He can be reached by email at