Message from Secretary Skinner: Empowering First-time Homebuyers

August 8, 2013
August 8, 2013

From Maryland Housing Quarterly: A Message from Secretary Raymond Skinner, Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that first-time homebuyers, a critical component of the housing market, are in danger of getting left behind in the current real estate recovery.

More and more families have the income, but not the savings to afford the downpayment for a new home, the Journal reported. Lenders have gotten more restrictive extending credit. And although low prices and low interest rates make now a great time to buy, first-time homebuyers frequently find that they are unable to compete with investors, who have the cash in-hand to snap up the best deals.

Yet, as the Journal story noted, first-time homebuyers are “the foundation of the real estate market and are major contributors to their local economies, often buying up older homes, revitalizing communities and spending money on furniture and renovations.”

This is why programs such as the Maryland Mortgage Program are critical to a broad-based and sustainable economic recovery. Our competitive interest rates and our generous downpayment assistance help make homeownership more accessible and affordable to those hardworking families who are so important to our economy.

Our goal is to make Maryland’s flagship homeownership program even better.

Under the leadership of Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown we adopted a mortgage-backed securities platform to ensure a steady flow of resources for our programs and services. We are steadily expanding our network of lenders who offer Maryland Mortgage Program products; as well as the number of employers participating in our Partner Match program. And in recent months, we launched new products to serve a broader range of families, including our Targeted Areas initiative, our Maryland Homefront Program and the 97 % Loan-to-Value Conventional Refinance Program.

In fiscal year 2012, we reserved Maryland Mortgage Program loans to 1,819 families for more than $315 million. We are surpassing that performance this year.

Our message to homebuyers is that now is a great time to buy!

Our message to lenders and realtors is that now is a great time to partner with the Maryland Mortgage Program!

Working together we can help build strong families, strong communities and a strong Maryland economy through homeownership.


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