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City looking into program to help middle-income and Black first-time homebuyers

housing market
Posted at 7:20 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 22:20:14-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego is one of the least affordable cities in the country for homeownership.

Renters have probably felt that for a while, but now a new study confirms it.

The Urban Institute presented the report during Thursday's city council's Land Use and Housing Committee meeting.

"The data in this report strongly shows the need for a program that helps middle-income San Diegans," Councilmember Vivian Moreno, the committee Chair, said.

Moreno requested the study explore the feasibility of increasing first-time homebuyer opportunities for households with middle-income and Black homebuyers.

It found that Black households have the lowest homeownership rate in San Diego, and middle-income families have a relatively low homeownership rate.

"In San Diego, individuals and households are facing increased challenges to access homeownership because of limited housing supply, high home prices, and increased competition," the study stated.

Moreno said home values rose nearly 28% between March 2021 and March 2022, while active home listings fell by 61%.

The current area median income (AMI) in San Diego County is $106,900.

The study focuses on those who make 80% to 120% of the area median income.

It also shows many don't try to buy a home because they can't afford it.

"The fact of the matter is most middle-income families have sufficient income to pay a mortgage on a median-priced home, but they don't have the savings to cover a down payment to cover a closing cost," Moreno said.

The report also found less than 30% of Black families are homeowners.

As for possible solutions, the study recommends exploring ways to attract and serve more Black homebuyers.

It also suggests creating a first-time homebuyer program for middle-income families that includes down-payment assistance.

Moreno asked the San Diego Housing Commission to look into funding for a middle-income first-time homebuyers program. She hopes to have a program ready to go by the fiscal year of 2024.