INGLEWOOD — Up to 10 families who are currently renting will receive up to $350,000 in mortgage assistance to become first-time homebuyers in the city of Inglewood.
“Excitement, joy, happiness.”
Those were Audrena Rosby’s initial thoughts when she heard her name called third out of 46 eligible applicants during the drawing for the city’s first-time homebuyers program at the beginning of the City council meeting July 30.
“I’ve been here for 20 years. This is actually where I was born in Inglewood, so I’m coming home, staying home actually,” Rosby said. “It was a struggle looking at the prices of the houses, especially with the stadium coming in and everything going up.”
Announcements that the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers will open a multi-billion dollar stadium in Hollywood Park creating the Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District in 2020 — along with a proposal for an adjacent Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center for the L.A. Clippers in 2024 — has ignited a rise in property values and rental costs in Inglewood, pricing many residents out of the city.
“It’s important because this is the new Inglewood,” Mayor James T. Butts Jr said. “We want to make sure that the people who have been here through the tough times have an opportunity to be here through the good times.”
“To spend up to potential $2.5 million so that 10 families can enjoy the feeling of homeownership is truly important and something that no city has done that I know of,” Butts added.
“It’s just a blessing that I’ve been waiting for and now I will actually be a homeowner instead of a renter,” Rosby said.
Rosby said it was frustrating and disheartening to see the rising property values in Inglewood.
“Everyday was just like this is nice but that’s too much, I can’t afford that. I was eventually going to have to look in other cities, L.A., Gardena, which is maybe a little cheaper but now I’m able to stay where I want to stay.”
Without mortgage assistance, Rosby said she would not have been able to buy a home in Inglewood.
Under the homebuyer program, residents who have lived in the city for three of the last five years can apply for up to $350,000 in mortgage assistance — once they’ve been pre-approved for a $250,000 minimum mortgage loan and make a 3 percent down payment of at least $7,500 towards the home’s purchase.
Other conditions include:
• The home cannot be rented out and must be a primary residence.
• Only moderate-income households are eligible, ranging from $58,200 to $109,750 a year depending on the household size.
• Only single-family homes, townhouses or condominiums are eligible.
• Applicants must have been enrolled in an eight-hour homebuyer education class to have been eligible to submit an application for the lottery.
The zero-interest loan, backed by the housing authority, has no monthly payments as long as you live in the home. It does, however, come with 45 years of conditions. If the resident sells the home before the 45-year mortgage is up, he or she would have to pay back all or a portion of the loan before profiting from the sale, based upon a prorated repayment schedule.
After 45 years, the loan is forgiven.
“Our intention is to help as many residents as possible,” City Councilman Eloy Morales Jr. said. “It’s important because obviously up and down the state of California what’s happening to the homeless population, the impacts on rent and how we as a city are growing so fast that some of the families are getting lost, we need to do all that we can.”
“The way we positioned this program was to make it available for people to actually purchase a home,” Morales added. “The prices of homes are going up so high that a small second loan would not work. This program is set to be successful, with that we’re going to impact people’s lives. It may be less families that we impact but they are going to truly be able to be homeowners at this point. It’s something that we’re real proud of.”
Under program eligibility guidelines, lottery winners have six months to purchase a home.
By John W. Davis