Buyers could get $15,000 to buy homes in some Nashville neighborhoods

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Bolstered by $60 million in federal funding, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency is expanding a program to help first-time homebuyers, allowing people buying in targeted neighborhoods slow to recover from the Great Recession to receive $15,000 in down payment assistance.

THDA Executive Director Ralph Perry joined with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry at a new conference Wednesday to announce the available incentives, which are to be offered to modest and low-income homebuyers in seven zip codes in Davidson County as well as zip codes in 29 other Tennessee counties, seven of which are in Middle Tennessee.

“For all the good things happening in Nashville, there are areas of our community have not shared fully in the city’s success,” Perrey said, adding the program “will help strengthen and stabilize some of those areas and actually encourage people to make a home ownership investment there.”

Dollars come from the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund. The influx of funds has allowed THDA to effectively expand its statewide Great Choice Plus down payment assistance program, which allows homebuyers across Tennessee to take up to 5 percent of the purchase price as down payment assistance.

In a break from normal practice, the treasury allowed THDA to target the zip code level with the enhanced $15,000 per-homebuyer incentive. Eligible homebuyers in Nashville who can apply for the program are one-and-two person households earning up to $82,000 and larger households earning up to $96,000. Perry said many wrongly assume the program only applies to a lower-income bracket.

Participants can use the assistance toward their down payment and closing costs in the form of a forgivable second mortgage loan. Homeowners will make no monthly paymen