Council President Darrell Clarke stands in front of a home with the new owner and others

CITY OFFICIALS CELEBRATE 500TH HOME PURCHASED THROUGH THE “PHILLY FIRST HOME” FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS PROGRAM

In Cherelle Parker, Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, Featured, Mark Squilla, Newsby PHL Council

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Olney Homeowner April Broaddus Joins Council President Clarke, Councilmember Parker, Others in Front of Her Home

Philadelphia, October 21, 2019 – Less than five months since its unveiling, over 500 Philadelphia families have purchased their first home under the city’s Philly First Home program.

Through Philly First Home, qualifying residents receive home buyer counseling and a grant of up to $10,000 towards the down payment and closing costs on their purchase of a home.  In return, the program has already generated $2.8 million for the city through realty transfer taxes, with additional revenues in property taxes expected.

Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) joined Councilmember Cherelle Parker (9th District) and new homeowner April Broaddus outside her home in Olney today to talk about Philly First Home and what it means for Philadelphians.

“Homeownership is the most significant investment an individual or family will ever make, and we need to make sure everyone has equal access to the long-term financial stability that homeownership can provide,” Clarke said. “Unfortunately, the rising cost of living, credit card and student loan debt, and stagnant wages force too many Philadelphians to stay renters. This inhibits their ability to save for the down payment they need to buy their own home. That’s the impetus behind Philly First Home.”

Councilmember Parker, whose 9th District covers Olney, Oak Lane and other “middle neighborhoods” in the Northwest section of Philadelphia, praised what the Philly First Home program means to home buyers like April Broaddus.

“The Philly First Home program is evidence that, with just a little push, we can help many Philadelphians overcome barriers such as student loan and credit card debt to achieve their goal of becoming a homeowner,” Parker said. “By incentivizing homeownership, we are stabilizing and preserving our neighborhoods for decades to come and enabling families to begin building wealth.”

Councilmember Mark F. Squilla (1st District) was a champion of the program since it’s onset, citing its ability to lower barriers to homeownership for city residents.

“Our residents deserve to achieve the American Dream of owning their first home and this fund [affords] them the ability to buy homes with access to money for a down payment,” he said in May.

Councilmember María Quiñones Sánchez (7th District) added, “Providing the small boost enabling more of our neighbors to become homeowners, this is another great tool in our toolbox to expand affordable housing options in our city.”

April Broaddus’s grant through the program was for $6,900 and the final purchase price of her home was $115,000. She is grateful to City Council and city housing officials for conceiving and supporting an innovative program allowing her to buy her own home for her family.

“With the right mindset and knowledge of the market and how it all works, homeownership is an achievable goal,” Broaddus said. “It is important for our generation to be well versed in the business of real estate, as this knowledge can break the cycle of poverty for generations to come.”

Map graphic of Philly First Settlement Grants Program Progress. Click on image for long description.Philly First Home provides qualified home buyers with a one-time forgivable grant of up to $10,000 or 6 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. Home buyers are required to receive counseling before receiving the grant, must not have owned a home for three years, and have household incomes no higher than 120 percent of area median income.

 

If the home buyer owns their home for 15 years, the grant is forgiven. If they sell their home before 15 years is up, they must pay the grant back to the city to help other families.

In less than five months since its inception, the progress of Philly First Home is startling:

  • 545 grants awarded to home buyers and purchases completed
  • $4.7 Million in total grants awarded to home buyers
  • $8,654.00 — average grant
  • $160,492 — average purchase price of the homes
  • $2,867,200 in real estate transfer taxes collected by city on these sales.

Council President Clarke, Councilmember Parker and Ms. Broaddus were joined at the press conference by housing counselors assisting first-time home buyers and city housing officials.

“The financial assistance along with the housing counseling not only helps families buy the home but also helps them stay in it,” said Anne Fadullon, the City’s Director of Planning and Development. “Moreover, our $4.7 million in grants has supported $87 million in sales and $2.7 million in Transfer Tax revenue to the City.”

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