Puerto Rico Housing Dept. helps 4,600 families buy a home
The Puerto Rico Department of Housing has assisted 4,622 families on the island to buy their home through the Direct Buyer Assistance program financed with CDBG-DR funds, agency Secretary William Rodríguez confirmed.
More than 3,000 of those cases were handled in 2022, he said.
It is not clear, however, how many applications were denied.
“We’re very happy, because we’ve been able to help more than 4,600 families to fulfill the dream of having their own home. We’ve also been able to inject, to date, more than $150 million into the economy and the mortgage sector,” said Rodríguez.
“Our goal is to continue helping more families with the $295 million budgeted for this program, which undoubtedly changes the lives of each participating family,” he said.
With this program — which is managed by the Housing Finance Authority (AFV, in Spanish) — 856 first responders have also benefited, including teachers, police officers, nurses and firefighters, who can opt for financial assistance up to $60,000, he said.
Financial institutions such as FEMBI Mortgage, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Sun West Mortgage Corp., HR Mortgage, and Preferred Mortgage, among others, have contributed to the program’s success this year, Rodríguez added.
AFV Director Blanca Fernández, said “I remember that, in January 2021, some 40 buyers were able to benefit from the program. After a lot of effort, we managed to benefit more than 1,500 families at the end of 2021,” she said.
“In 2022, we continued to work hard, and we were able to help more than 3,000 buyers. We have done this through collaboration with participating financial institutions and real estate professionals, plus the excellent work of our AFV team,” she said.
Meanwhile, Aileen Guzmán, vice president of operations at FEMBI Mortgage, said “since the beginning of the program, FEMBI Mortgage saw the aid as an excellent tool to facilitate home buying and we have added resources to expedite the closing of the loans. In 2023, our commitment is to continue assisting more people in one of the most important financial transactions, the purchase of a home.”
Meanwhile, Harry Rodríguez, president of HR Mortgage, said “it’s the opportunity for many people who dreamed of having a home and thought they would never be able to do so, since it would be very difficult to save for a down payment and closing costs.”
“This is the time to buy a home, although in other parts of the United States home sales have been affected by the change in interests, this program helps and boosts property sales in Puerto Rico,” he said.
Among the strategies to promote the program, the Housing Department toured the island guiding potential buyers under the CDBG-DR initiative, developed and held a symposium with members of the real estate industry, and launched a campaign to encourage more Puerto Ricans to request the available funds.
“The efforts are going to continue and we’re going to double-down on them so that more Puerto Rican families obtain this important assistance that, in addition to a home, guarantees them protection, security, and a better quality of life,” William Rodríguez said, adding there are still funds available under the program.