I closed a purchase today utilitzing the Nehemiah down payment grant program. This particular transaction also included a seller concession for closing costs. My clients were able to get into a $300k home for a grand total out-of-pocket of about $6,500.
This was a nice young couple with two incomes and good credit. The loan was full documentation and they are well able to handle the monthly mortgage payment on their incomes. The combination of down payment grant and seller concession for closing costs helped this couple to get into a home much faster than they could have if they continued to pour money into rent every month while trying to save up enough money for a down payment.
I had a second, unrelated, closing today also. This was a more mature couple that sold their "starter" home and was moving up to a more comfortable home. They had a normal down payment and did not require a concession for closing costs. Of course, they could not have made this move up if there had not been a first-timer buying the starter home that my guys had to sell.
This was a reminder to me of the importance of first time buyers to the entire real estate process. Each market segment depends upon movement at the segment below it.
I'll be very sorry to see the down payment assistance program go away.