Vermont House approves expanding popular VHFA down payment assistance program

By: Leslie Black-Plumeau

Last week the Vermont House approved H. 922 which includes provisions from an earlier bill (H.766) that expands VHFA’s Down Payment Assistance Program. The bill is now passed over to the Senate and earlier this week was read and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. Since the DPA program started in 2015, demand among qualified first-time home buyers has been twice what can be funded through the Vermont Affordable Housing Tax Credit, the program’s designated funding source. 

The roughly $5,000 in assistance the program provides to each borrower is especially critical for young  first-time home buyers who are making starting salaries and facing Vermont’s relatively high closing costs. The 600 home buyers the program has served so far have had an annual income of $65,000, purchased a home costing $160,000 and are 31 years old, on average. 

H. 922 also includes an expansion of the successful Downtown Development Tax Credit program and several other provisions, including a tax on e-cigarettes. VHFA’s Executive Director Sarah Carpenter testified in support of the bill before the House Ways and Means and Commerce Committees and hopes to provide testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in the near future.

Pictured: Rachel, an IT business analyst, is one of the 600 first-time Vermont home buyers who have used the Down Payment Assistance Program since it started in 2015. Photo by P. Detzer.