Proposed fee on homeowners could create affordable housing

Posted at 6:02 AM, Aug 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 10:58:34-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Local families trying to save money by refinancing their homes may get hit with a new fee.

But that cash could help turn some renters into home buyers.

Refinancing fees can add to several thousand dollars, depending on how much a family is borrowing. They include application, appraisal, title, and document preparation, to name a few. But those families would also benefit from a lower monthly mortgage payment since they'll get a lower interest rate.

Now, a bill making progress in Sacramento wants to share the wealth with people who can barely afford San Diego's high rents.

Senate Bill 2, from State Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, would impose fees between $75 and $225 dollars on families who refinance their homes. That money would go to creating or maintaining 20 thousand affordable homes, and also providing funding to programs that help people buy homes – including down payment assistance.

Terra Cosby has been renting in normal heights for 7 years and says she's no closer to her goal of owning a home.

“The rent has gone up each year, it gets a little harder, especially because we're not making as much to pay for the rent,” Cosby said.

Bill Moore, a spokesman for the California Association of Mortgage Professionals says the bill is unfair - only people refinancing have to pay the fee, and for example the money they spend in San Diego could go to providing affordable housing in Fresno.

An Atkins spokesman says families would quickly make the extra fees back in their lower monthly payment. About half of the money would stay local, and the other half to be divvied up by the state.

The bill passed the State Senate and the Assembly could hear it anytime in the next four weeks.