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Housing sale prices increase while state officials roll out first-time home buyers program

City and state officials are hopeful a new program will help people attain the dream to be homeowners.

HARTFORD, Conn — For many, homeownership has long been accepted as a core component of the American dream.

But with inflation brewing and costs steadily rising, for many people, that dream has been put on hold. With rising inflation and higher interest rates, the  American dream feels out of reach. 

Hartford and state officials are hopeful a new program will help people attain that dream.

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“For buyers, it can be very frustrating so many times they'll feel as if they'll never find their home,” said PrefeQ Realty broker, Fabian Weir. 

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The median sale price of single-family homes in Greater Hartford rose 12.7% last month compared to the year-ago period, according to the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors.

“If the average sales price is higher then I guess it’s good for business," said Weir. "If you’re looking at it from the perspective of buyers, it would assume that it would make it a little more difficult for people to be qualified for certain purchases."

Interest rates are continuing to climb, reaching their highest point since 1994. But, although some dreams are deferred, they are still possible. 

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“Our job here is to let them understand that there are programs that are available. You don’t have to have a million dollars to buy a home. There are going to be programs that are going to give you that opportunity to buy without breaking the bank,” said Weir. 

That’s what the state’s new “Time to Own” program is also supposed to do. Its goal is to provide assistance to first-time homebuyers. 

“With time to own, the time is now,” said Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) CEO, Nandini Natarajan. 

“For first-time homebuyers that can demonstrate Connecticut residency, [they] can utilize the program to receive a forgivable down payment loan for up to 20% of the purchase price and an additional 5% for closing costs [and] up to $50,000,” said Natarajan.  

According to CHFA, money is lent by zones. 

For example, buyers interested in West Hartford can get up to $50,000 in assistance. Those looking in Hartford can expect up to $25,000 in assistance. 

People interested in the program must meet the requirements to qualify for a CHFA first mortgage.  

“We have to do everything we can to help renters and those first-time homebuyers step up and be able to get the opportunity for ownership as well,” said Gov. Ned Lamont. 

So far, the program has seen 14 homebuyers and they are also looking for more banks who would like to partner with them. 

DeAndria Turner is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. She can be reached at dturner@fox61.com. 

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