Buffalo, NY (WBEN) – State Senator Tim Kennedy unveiled a proposal to help recent graduates become homeowners.
The legislation would give prospective homeowners who graduated from college or attended another form of post-secondary education in the past seven years access to a discounted mortgage rate based upon the State of New York Mortgage Agency’s (SONYMA) Low-Interest Rate Program. Specifically, qualified applicants will receive an additional 1.5 percent discount on their interest rate below the standard Low-Interest Rate Program rate of five percent for ten years.
“Buffalo has over 20,000 empty homes, and this legislation will help return those houses to the hands of responsible homeowners who will help drive the development of our communities,” Kennedy said in a statement.
Kennedy estimates that this interest rate can save a buyer purchasing a $70,000 home nearly $7,000 over a ten-year period, lowering their estimated monthly payment from $527 to $470 for the ten-year life of the discount. In addition to requiring that applicants have completed post-secondary coursework within the past seven years, the legislation also requires the applicant to make under $70,000 and for the purchased home to be located in an economically distressed census tract, defined by the Federal Government as having a poverty rate of at least 20 percent. The program will be accessible to anyone who has completed any post-secondary education including vocational or technical training, undergraduate studies or graduate school.
As of the 2010 Census, Buffalo’s housing stock had a vacancy rate of over 15 percent, with the 2012 American Community Survey reporting over 23,000 vacant housing units throughout the city. As economic growth continues to spread throughout the region and new jobs are created, Kennedy’s legislation aims to encourage more of these new workers to buy homes in the city.