Homebuyer Programs for DC Residents

by Michele Lerner


While potential homebuyers keep their attention focused on the federal tax credit for first-time and repeat buyers, they may be missing out on programs available from their state and local government which can help make a home purchase more affordable. Consumers may think these programs are entirely geared to low-income households (many are), but in actuality the mix of tax credits, low-interest loans, down payment assistance and grants can be accessible to a variety of individuals.

DC First-Time Buyer Tax Credit

DC homebuyers can qualify for the $5,000 DC Homeowners Tax Credit, at least through the end of 2009. The rules for this credit are a little different from the federal credit, with income restrictions of $90,000 for single filers and $130,000 for joint filers. For the purposes of this credit, first-time buyers are defined as those who have not owned a home within the year preceding the new purchase.

Lower Income Home Ownership Tax Abatement

Eligible homeowners can get a five-year tax abatement, which exempts them from paying recordation and transfer taxes. In order to qualify for the abatement, the property must be owner-occupied, be valued at less than $320,000, and the owners must meet the income-level requirement. For additional information, call 202-727-5374 or visit the DC Office of Tax and Revenue website here.

Low-Interest Mortgage Loans in Targeted Areas

The District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) has low-interest mortgage loans available for homes in certain targeted areas. The loans are available to both first-time and repeat buyers, and there are no income limitations. For a map of the targeted areas, go to DC Housing Finance Agency website.

Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP)

The Housing Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) is a DC initiative that gives up to $40,000 in financial assistance to low to moderate income individuals to purchase single-family homes, condominiums and apartments. The dollar amount used to be $70,000, but was lowered to $40,000 about a year ago. The money provided by HPAP can be used for a down payment and/or closing costs, and it comes in the form of a low-interest 5-year deferred loan. To qualify, the buyer must be buying for the first-time, must be the head of the household and the home must be his/her primary residence. A first-time buyer in this case cannot have owned a home during the previous three years. The home must be in DC, the buyers must have a good credit score and must have a low-to-moderate income, according to the Department’s standards.

Employer Assisted Housing Program

First-time buyers can get additional assistance with down payment and closing costs if they are employees of the DC government. This includes personnel at all government agencies, police officers, all DC public school and charter school employees. Government employees are eligible for matching down payment funds of up to $1,500 and a deferred loan of up to $10,000.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/homebuyer_programs_for_dc_residents/1625


  1. david zhang said at 3:00 pm on Tuesday December 22, 2009:

    I was under the impression that if you received the federal tax credit, you are therefore not eligible for the DC tax credit.  is this the case?

  1. bone said at 4:04 pm on Tuesday December 22, 2009:

    I am also pretty sure you can’t take the DC tax credit if you take the federal tax credit unless something changed recently.

  1. Jess said at 4:08 pm on Tuesday December 22, 2009:

    The article does not say you can take advantage of both. I know that it is either one or the other.

  1. jeff said at 1:22 pm on Thursday December 24, 2009:

    If you’re going to go the HPAP route, prepare for bureaucratic hell from the Greater Washington Urban League who got the contract to administer the program. I qualified for HPAP but the paperwork burden is so immense and arbitrary, and the customer service so dismal that I simply gave up, went without, and am now feeling the squeeze b/c of it.

  1. SC said at 6:19 pm on Sunday January 3, 2010:

    There are a lot of great programs available to DC residents. Great info, thanks.


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