(03/31/14) - When the housing market collapsed several years ago, many families found themselves trapped when the value of their homes fell.
Now, as the real estate market improves, there is a new effort underway to help get some of those people into new homes.
MI-Next Home was Launched by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. It's now offering incentives for those looking to make their next move.
"It's a positive cycle that we want to put in place. People who are ready to move up, they want to have that support, so it creates more opportunity for the rest of the community," said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.
With the program, those that qualify for assistance will receive up to $7,500, or 4 percent of the purchase price to use toward that cost.
"We all know that a number of families have lost some equity in their homes, even though the housing prices are rebounding. This is going to allow families that could step up to their next home to have assistance with the down payment. And that create a positive cycle for other potential homeowners to have an opportunity for that home that others are moving out of," Walling said.
According to the Flint Area Association of Realtors, the average price of a home rose nearly 13 percent in 2013. Books for 2014 already show that prices are up 27 percent from the same time last year.
With the program, there is hope that things can get even better.
"A growing housing market puts money in a lot of peoples' pockets. It fuels the economy, the industry. It creates demand. It shows that this is an attractive place that's growing. We've had a lot of business recovery, we've seen improvements in employment and now the next step is to get that broad housing market improvement, so that families all across this county really benefit," Walling said.
Income limitations do apply for the program and vary by county to county.
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