CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that his Welcome Home Illinois program is setting all-time records in homeownership across the state. Since the program’s launch in April, 2,830 homebuyers in 85 counties have reserved more than $360 million in financing, creating an estimated 1,400 new jobs. The response is the greatest the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has seen in its 30-year history of providing mortgage financing. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to drive economic growth by making homeownership more affordable in Illinois.
“Hundreds of people that have been sidelined from the home buying market are taking advantage of Welcome Home Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “I have met countless families across Illinois who have benefitted from our program. By giving hardworking residents the opportunity to achieve their dream and buy a home, we are strengthening and stabilizing communities across Illinois and driving our economy forward.”
In 2013, 3,000 families purchased homes through one of IHDA’s programs, generating 1,500 jobs and infusing $70 million into Illinois’ economy. Projections show that even just a 15 percent increase in 2014 could generate an additional 1,725 jobs and infuse another $10 million into Illinois’ economy.
The Governor’s Welcome Home Illinois program is administered by IHDA and offers $7,500 in down-payment assistance with an interest rate as low as 3.75 percent for a secure, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Governor Quinn has also proclaimed June as “Homeownership Month” across Illinois and encouraged all interested residents to find more information about Welcome Home Illinois at WelcomeHomeIllinois.gov. The program’s website has achieved over 120,000 visitors since its April launch.
Experts are increasingly recognizing the important role of first-time homebuyers in driving economic growth. Illinois’ success comes at a time when many states are struggling to boost first-time homebuyer sales across both new and existing homes.
First-time homebuyers are the engine that drives the overall housing market and greater economy. Families moving into new homes invest in other items such as furnishings, appliances and home goods. In fact, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors, every home sold generates two jobs and $60,000 in ripple effects to the overall economy.
For newly-built homes, first-time buyers account for only 16 percent of purchases according to the National Association of Home Builders, down from a range of 25 and 28 percent between 2001 and 2007. Additionally, these buyers made up only 29 percent of purchases for existing homes in April according to the National Association of Realtors, down from regular monthly shares of 40 and 50 percent in 2009 and 2010.
A reduction in home purchases in the lower end segment by first-time home buyers nationally has also contributed to limited sales of existing homes to 88 percent of the 10-year average and slows the sales of newly built homes to approximately 60 percent of their average since 2000.
Summer marks peak buying season and the new program is tailored to working families, with borrower income limits up to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI). For example, a family of three in Cook County could qualify earning up to $108,675 in annual household income.
Aurora-based couple Ryan and Jessica Chrisman-DeNegri benefitted from the Welcome Home Illinois program.
“I grew up living in apartments and didn’t know where to begin when it came to looking for a home,” Jessica Chrisman-DeNegri said. “But the loan officer and realtor really took the guesswork out of the process and we’re looking forward to having a place we can build our futures.”
Welcome Home Illinois has limited funds available and is open to qualified first-time homebuyers, or anyone who has not owned a home in the past three years, on a first come, first serve basis. With funding quickly being reserved, interested homebuyers can find additional details about the program and a list of 100 lenders at WelcomeHomeIllinois.gov. The program is funded through Illinois Jobs Now! and the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund.