At Saturday’s meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a measure to help low to moderate income Buckingham residents become homeowners.

The board’s unanimous approval will make $500,000 in Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program (MIPAP) funds available to seven or eight first-time homebuyers who qualify. The loans will be made available to residents at Buckingham Village 3, and other Buckingham neighborhood families, to help with down payments and closing costs on homes.

County Board Chair Mary Hynes explained that there has been a plan in place to help Buckingham residents who had been displaced by development.

“We had intended to create a homeownership option in Buckingham Village 3 — but, as the economy changed due to the recession, that option became prohibitively expensive,” Hynes said. “The board is fulfilling the spirit of our commitment to these residents, who might not otherwise have been able to stay in our community as homeowners.”

Last month, the county scrapped a plan to sell some of the units at Buckingham Village 3 as condos. At that time, county staff was instructed to find new ways to help lower income residents buy homes.

To be eligible for the loans, Arlington residents must earn less than 80 percent of the area median income, which is listed as $86,000 for a family of four. They also must not have owned a home in the past three years. Buyers can qualify for a subordinated loan of up to 25 percent of the purchase price, with a maximum loan amount up to $90,700.

Homeowners are not required to repay the loan until the home is either refinanced or sold. At that point, the owner must repay the loan to the county, plus up to 25 percent of the difference between the purchase price and the appreciated sales price.

Currently, about $3.6 million in MIPAP funds has been used to help about 236 borrowers purchase their first homes in Arlington.


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