Home sweet home: resources for homebuyers in San Diego

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SD Home for Sale San Diego East County

San Diego is a tough market for homebuyers — but resources can help.

Photo via Monica Garske + SD today

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The idea of buying a home can seem overwhelming, especially with San Diego being one of the most competitive housing markets in the country.

Deep breaths, friends. We want to take a moment to highlight some programs available through the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) that can help ease that burden, especially for first-time homebuyers. Remember — CalHFA programs have income eligibility requirements, and interested borrowers in San Diego County can’t make more than $231,000 annually.

🏡 Down payments

Coming up with the cash for a down payment can be one of the biggest obstacles. Thankfully, the state’s MyHome Assistance Program offers a deferred-payment loan of up to 3.5% of the home’s purchase price or appraisal value (whichever is less) to help first-time buyers with down payments and closing costs.

🏡 Mortgages

As of mid-October 2023, the average mortgage rate in San Diego is 7.478% APR for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. California offers four main types of mortgage loans for first-time buyers, with the standard being the CalHFA FHA Loan Program, a 30-year, fixed-interest loan. The CalPLUS FHA Loan Program has a slightly higher interest rate, and is combined with the Zero Interest Program that helps with closing costs.

There are specialized loans as well, such as the CalHFA VA Loan Program for US military members and the CalHFA USDA Program for homebuyers in more rural areas.

🏡 Not just first-time buyers

If you already own a home and want to add space for more people, the state could provide a grant up to $40,000 to pre-develop a secondary unit — like a backyard cottage — on your property through the Accessory Dwelling Unit Grant Program. The San Diego Housing Commission also offers an ADU Finance Program that helps low-income homeowners with ADU construction loans up to $250,000.

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