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Building generational wealth: Tenn fund helps struggling first-time home buyers

According to the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency, Tennessee saw a significant spike in house appreciation within in the past year.
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:34 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:54 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Some first-time home buyers are hitting road blocks in what realtors call a heavily saturated housing market in East Tennessee. According to the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency, Tennessee saw a significant spike in house appreciation within in the past year.

A group called The Housing Fund is offering some financial relief through its Shared Equity Program, with the goal of creating affordable homes. The group gives private loans to low to moderate-income families or individuals.

“I hear so many residents saying, I’ve lived in Nashville, or I lived in Knoxville or Memphis all of my life. I’ve been preparing for homeownership for so long. Now, I can’t even afford it without someone coming in and outbid me,” Marshall E. Crawford Jr., The Housing Fund President and CEO, said.

Through The Housing Fund’s Shared Equity Program, homebuyers in the program are only required to pay 1% of the purchase price, with 25% coming from the housing fund. FirstBank is said to take care of the remaining 74%.

Once homeowners enter into the Shared Equity Program, that home will stay an affordable unit for the next buyer.

On Thursday, FirstBank announced it’s committing $10 million to the fund, which will offer more families an opportunity to have a home of their own.

“It’s an investment to maintain affordable housing. We’ve seen a lot of homeownership appreciation over the last year and affordability is becoming an issue,” Michael Mettee, FirstBank CFO said.

Other East Tennesseans are exercising other options to create generational wealth like selling their homes.

Knoxville mom, Torie Cotner, purchased their West Knox home four years ago but now wants to be debt-free. After consulting with her realtor, Betty Cooper with Realty Executives, their final solution is selling what they thought would be their forever home.

“With the way the economy is and in this market, we can come out on top. Whether it’s buying other homes and renting those out, or, investing,” Cotner said.

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