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A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

November 24, 2008
U.S. Sales fall: Nehemiah cites lack of down payment assistance

Sacramento's Nehemiah Corp. of America, formerly the nation's leading source of down payment assistance gifts, has a few thoughts today on reports of slower October home sales in the U.S. (The National Association of Realtors reported 3.1 percent decline from the same time last year and another big drop in median sales prices).

Congress banned down payment assistance effective Oct. 1, agreeing with contentions that it artificially raised the price of homes for those who could least afford it, and had higher default rates. Nehemiah, and much of the real estate industry, however, has long seen it differently as an important sales tool and opening for those who couldn't otherwise afford a down payment.  

Here's what Nehemiah president and CEO Scott Syphax had to say in a statement released this morning:

"As we anticipated, the spike in September home sales was short-lived, driven by hardworking Americans racing to take advantage of seller-funded downpayment assistance (DPA) before it was eliminated on October 1. October housing sales tanked, clearly illustrating the reality we now face in a post-DPA market. Foreclosures are on the rise and banks maintain their stranglehold on credit while lawmakers continue to overlook a simple solution that enables eager families to take advantage of depressed home prices, reducing the glut of homes on the market without spending a single taxpayer dollar.  We call on Congress to revisit the important role that DPA has played in providing access to homeownership, and urge them to remove the ban."


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