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Public and Private Sectors Offer Deals to Get Homebuyers Buying

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Starting March 30, the state of Ohio is offering low and middle income home buyers zero interest loans for down payments on a house. It's just one of a growing array of enticements to get consumers to buy a house. ideastream®'s Mhari Saito reports.

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 4:00 am

The federal government is offering an $8,000 tax credit to new homebuyers to get them off the fence and buy a house. But what if you need that money now to make your downpayment? Starting March 30, OHFA, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, has loans of up to 3 percent of your purchase price to do just that. The 15-year loan for low and middle income buyers has no payments or interest until July 2010. The state's Cindy Flaherty says not only new homebuyers can take advantage of the credit.

Cindy Flaherty: All of the city of Cleveland is a target area so if you are interested in purchasing in the city you don't even have to be a first time home buyer.

Private companies are also getting into the act. Following the lead of some car makers, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the largest real estate company in NE Ohio, is also offering buyers up to $9,000 if they lose their job within 6 to 12 months of buying a home. Fred Corsi runs Barristers, a title company that works with Howard Hanna.

Fred Corsi: The one thing we're hearing from buyers is they're afraid, they're afraid of taking on an expense like a home and we're hoping that by doing this it will help them be more confident going forward.

The offers come as the housing industry's key spring sales season kicks off to a slow start. Last week the Ohio Association of Realtors reported that statewide home sales are down 23 percent from a year ago.

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