Americans interested in buying homes are searching for every way they can get ahead. Because of this, several false claims about Congress approving grants for first-time homebuyers have gone viral.
Verify is breaking down what's been passed, what's been proposed, and how it could help buyers in an intense real estate market.
Did Congress pass a $25,000 credit for first-time homebuyers?
No. Bills have been drafted, but none have been introduced to Congress, voted on, or passed.
WHAT WE FOUND
The social media claim that down payment assistance was passed by Congress is false, but that doesn't mean it's a pipe dream. Several bills that provide some kind of assistance for Americans trying to buy a home have been proposed.
The Downpayment Toward Equity Act, as written, would create a grant program to provide money directly to first-generation homeowners, meaning Americans who have never owned a home and whose parents never owned a home.
"It would allow homebuyers to receive up to $20,000 in assistance, or $25,000 in assistance if that homebuyer qualifies as what the bill calls a 'socially and economically disadvantaged individual,'" Andy Winkler said. "That means someone who, for example, was subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias before. It's unclear exactly how that would be implemented."
The bill has not been formally introduced, only drafted and discussed in committee. It has not been voted on yet. Neither has the First-Time Homebuyer Act, a similar bill that would give first-time homebuyers a tax credit instead of a grant.
"The First-Time Homebuyer Act, introduced by Congressmen Blumenauer and Panetta would provide sort of a tax credit for first-time homebuyers of up to 10% of the purchase price, or $15,000," Winkler said.
Winkler said to qualify, you would need to not own a home or not have purchased a home within the last couple of years.
"The program is really targeted into sort of low and middle-income earners, but less specific, obviously, than the Downpayment Toward Equity Act," Winkler said.
So we can verify, there are a few bills floating around Capitol Hill that would provide financial assistance to first-time home buyers. But so far, none of them have passed.