YES, You Can! – Purchase a Home using HOMEOWNERSHIP VOUCHERS through HUD

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Home Ownership Program enables the lowest income households in participating Communities to purchase decent, safe housing in the private housing market by providing homeownership assistance.

The Section 8 HomeOwnership Program allows Section 8 recipients to purchase a home instead of spending the funds on rent. Instead of giving their funds to landlords, qualifying families can instead invest the funds on a home they actually own! 

The Goal is striving to assist beneficiaries who wish to increase their financial independence, so that the option of owning a home can become an effective way to build assets and achieve financial stability.

The program also provides assistance to senior citizens and disabled persons on fixed incomes, displaced families, and homeless individuals with disabilities.

Families can potentially receive assistance with down payments, closing costs, and can even receive lower interest rates!

Qualified participants will be required to make a down payment toward the purchase of their new home. They will need  to provide at least three percent (3%) of the home purchase price. At least one percent (1%) of the purchase price must come from the family’s personal resource, such as an S8A, IDA account, Savings account. The remaining 2% can sometimes be made up with contributions from other qualified programs.

The program, which operates under regulations by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, provides Housing Choice Vouchers to eligible households. 

As part of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, some Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) elect to participate in the Section 8 Home Ownership Voucher Program.  You can see a list of participating PHAs here.

You may be able to apply for this program in a participating PHA even if you don’t live in that zone. However, preference is given to residents and you may be required to live in the new zone for 1 year before receiving services. Contact your nearest PHA for more information.

Overview

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Section 8 homeownership program allows families that are assisted under the HCV program to use their voucher to buy a home and receive monthly assistance in meeting homeownership expenses.  While the HCV homeownership regulations contemplate a downpayment grant option (where the PHA offers a single downpayment assistance grant to the family instead of a monthly homeownership subsidy), funding has not been appropriated for this purpose and this regulatory provision has never been implemented. 

The HCV homeownership program is available only to families that have been admitted to the HCV program and it is not offered by every Public Housing Agency (PHA).  PHAs have discretion to determine whether to implement the HCV homeownership program in their jurisdictions.  To find a PHA in your area that may administer an HCV homeownership program, you may use the homeownership enrollments report below.  For contact information of all PHAs by State, not only PHAs administering an HCV homeownership program, click here.

To participate in the HCV homeownership program, the HCV family must meet specific income and employment requirements (the employment requirement does not apply to elderly and disabled families), be a first-time homeowner as defined in the regulation, attend and satisfactorily complete the pre-assistance homeownership and housing counseling program required by the PHA, and meet any additional eligibility requirements set by the PHA. 

To qualify for this program, families must obtain a voucher through their local PHA and be first-time homebuyers. However, if a family contains a member with disabilities who requires homeownership assistance as a reasonable accommodation, the family would be eligible for the homeownership option, regardless of whether they had owned a home previously.

Families must meet the following minimum income requirements:
1) The qualified annual income of the adult family members who will own the home must not be less than the federal minimum hourly wage multiplied by 2,000 hours.
2) For disabled families, the qualified annual income of the adult family members who will own the home must not be less than the monthly federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit for an individual living alone multiplied by 12.

Requirements include that income counted in meeting the minimum income requirement under the homeownership option must come from sources other than welfare assistance. However, HUD may count welfare assistance in determining availability of voucher homeownership assistance for a family whose head of household is elderly or disabled

Eligibility.

To be eligible for housing choice voucher homeownership assistance, the family must be eligible for the voucher program and meet the following eligibility requirements:
1. First-time Homeowner or Cooperative Member. The family must meet the definition of a first-time homeowner (or coop member).
 2. Minimum Income. The qualified monthly income of the adult family members who will own the home must not be less than the Federal minimum hourly wage multiplied by 2,000 hours ($10,300). Except in the case of an elderly or disabled family, welfare assistance is not counted in determining whether the family meets this requirement.
3. Employment. Except in the case of elderly and disabled families, one or more adults in the family who will own the home must be currently employed on a full-time basis (not less than an average of 30 hours a week) and have been continuously employed on a full-time basis for at least one year before commencement of homeownership assistance
4. No Mortgage default. The family may not have previously defaulted on a mortgage while receiving voucher homeownership assistance.
5. No Ownership Interest in any Residential Property. Except for coop members, no family member may have a present ownership interest in a residence at the commencement of homeownership assistance for the purchase of any home.
6. Additional PHA eligibility requirements. The family must meet any other initial eligibility requirements established by the PHA.
 7. Homeownership counseling. The family must attend and satisfactorily complete the PHA’s pre-assistance homeownership and housing counseling program.

Limit on Assistance

A limit may placed on the amount of time a family may receive assistance under the homeownership option. There is no time limit for an elderly or disabled family. For all other families, there is for a mandatory term limit of 15 years if the initial mortgage incurred to finance purchase of the home has a term that is 20 years or longer, and for all other cases the maximum term of homeownership assistance is 10 years

Sale or Refinancing .

If the family sells or refinances within ten years of the commencement of assistance, the homeownership assistance provided on behalf of the family is subject to recapture.
 1. The recapture amount for sales is the lesser of: a. the amount of homeownership assistance provided to the family (reduced after the first year of assistance by 10 percent each year over a 10 year period)
or b. the difference between the sales price and purchase price of the home less the costs of any capital expenditures, sale costs, and any amounts previously recaptured.
2. The recapture amount for refinancing of the home is the lesser of: a. the amount of homeownership assistance provided to the family (reduced after the first year of assistance by 10 percent each year over a 10 year period)
 or b. the difference between the current mortgage debt and the new mortgage debt minus the cost of any capital expenditures, refinancing costs, and any amounts previously recaptured.

Homeownership Regulations and Forms

Reports

HCV homeownership enrollments report: this report shows the number of HCV families that have been assisted under the PHA’s HCV homeownership program in the past 5 years, as reported by the PHA in HUD’s IMS/PIC system.  The report shows all new and current HCV homeownership families per year.  

Related Programs and Notices:

  • Housing counseling: the law requires that housing counseling required under or provided in connection with all HUD programs is provided by HUD Certified Housing Counselors.  This statutory requirement was implemented by HUD through the Final rule for housing counseling certification.  PHAs are not required to become approved to participate in HUD’s Housing Counseling program (nor is the PHA’s staff required to become HUD certified counselors) as long as the PHA is not providing the homeownership and housing counseling themselves.  However, PHAs must ensure that any homeownership and housing counseling done in connection with the HCV homeownership option is provided by a HUD certified counselor working for a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.  HUD is in the process of updating the homeownership regulations to conform with this requirement.
          
  • Homeownership fees: HUD provides a special $200 fee for every homeownership closing.  More information may be found in the yearly notices implementing the funding provisions for the HCV program. 
     
  • Homebuying programs by State: provides more information about homebuying programs, other than the HCV homeownership program, in your State. 

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