New Castle County Launches Effort to Boost Sales of Vacant Houses

Home buyers who purchase a vacant property in certain ZIP codes in New Castle County may qualify for up to $10,000 in down payment and settlement assistance under a program launched today by the county.

The goal of the federally funded New Castle County Vacant Homebuyer Assistance Program (VHAP) is to stimulate sales of homes vacant for at least 90 days.

“Providing housing options and enhancing communities are two key elements of our vision for keeping New Castle County a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” said County Executive Paul Clark. “This program will be an important motivator for qualified buyers to turn vacant properties into stable homes that contribute to attractive, safe and welcoming neighborhoods.”

Loans are available for properties in New Castle County ZIP codes 19702, 19701, 19805, 19802, 19709, and 19720 and in some areas of Claymont and Edgemoor. The city of Wilmington has a similar program for houses there.

A family of four must make no more than $96,500 a year to qualify for a loan. Applicants are not required to be first-time home buyers, and the loan will be forgiven after five years if the home remains the owner’s primary residence.

Funding for the program comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which is administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority. Following approval by County Council in September, the county set aside $200,000 of the federal grant money for the vacant housing program.

“This program is a ‘big win’ for the buyer, and we really hope once people start hearing about it, the VHAP will stimulate home sales in New Castle County,” Marcus Henry, General Manager of the county’s Community Services department, said at today’s kickoff, which was attended by real estate agents, lenders, non profit housing developers and housing counselors. Henry said that in the last three years the county’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program has purchased nearly 60 homes, worked with nonprofit developers to rehabilitate the properties, and then worked with others in the housing industry to find eligible buyers. “Many of these once blighted properties have now been sold to eligible homebuyers. Now, with this buyer driven program, we hope to incentivize additional home sales of vacant properties.”

For more information on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the county’s new Vacant Homebuyer Assistance Program, contact Brian Doreste today at 302-753-6398

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