Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday a state partnership with Webster Bank that will provide down payment and closing costs assistance to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers who apply to Connecticut Housing Finance Authority’s First-Time Homebuyer program.
The “Time to Own” program, which launched last Monday, is being administered by CHFA on behalf of the Connecticut Department of Housing and is funded with $20 million that was allocated for home buyer assistance by the State Bond Commission in December.
“I just want to say, on a personal note, ownership is really important,” Lamont said. “I want them [the community] to be owners, so that they know that the community’s invested in them and they’re invested in the community.”
Seila Mosquera-Bruno, commissioner of the Department of Housing, said rental costs in Hartford have been rising rapidly during the first quarter of 2022. On average, rental costs are 8% higher than 2021. Yet houses are being sold around asking price.
Nandini Natarajan, CEO and executive director of the CHFA, said the time to buy a home for those who qualify is now.
“Some studies suggest it takes an average renter nine years to save up enough money to afford 20% down,” Natarajan said.
Natarajan said that the program will provide some type of assistance to qualified home buyers no matter where in the state they are looking.
“This is to ensure that no matter where people choose to put down roots in Connecticut, they have access to opportunities that will help them and their families thrive,” Natarajan said.
According to CHFA, “Time to Own” will cover up to a 20% down payment and up to 5% closing costs. Ten percent of the principal balance will be forgiven annually, on the anniversary date of the loan closing, until the loan is fully forgiven on the tenth anniversary.
John Ciulla, CEO and president of Webster Bank, said “Time to Own” is a great fit for Webster’s $6.5 billion Community Investment Program.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the program will create wealth within families of Connecticut.
“One of the biggest ways that we can help families build wealth over time [and] escape the trap of intergenerational poverty is through homeownership,” Bronin said.
Sen. Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor, said the program will bring back the American dream of homeownership.
Bob Stefanowski, Republican candidate for governor, said while owning a home is important, Democrats have made it hard to afford basic necessities.
“With Biden-Lamont inflation, it’s costing the average family an extra $656 per month just to get by,” Stefanoski said. “We don’t need any more election-year gimmicks and giveaways, we need real fiscal reform that makes Connecticut more affordable.”
As of the press conference, Natarajan said that 14 applications have been filed for the program. Mosquera-Bruno said she believes that 500 to 1,000 people will benefit from “Time to Own.”