NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) is rolling out one of its largest grants ever to get New Mexicans into a home they can call their own. It couldn’t come at a better time as interest rates in the housing market continue to rise.

“The home prices are probably 30% higher in a lot of cases than they were. So that’s really put some strain on affordability for a lot of New Mexicans,” said Jeff Payne, chief lending officer with MFA.

As home prices and mortgage rates rise, MFA says a lot of New Mexicans can no longer afford to buy a home. According to a recent Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS (GAAR) report, the median price in 2022 for a single-family home is $330,000; up from $246,500 in 2020.

“I believe this is probably the biggest grant that we’ve been able to offer,” says Payne. MFA is trying to give low to moderate-income families a better shot at owning their first home.

“We see that at that income level, with the increases in prices that we’ve seen, that there’s a big gap,” Payne says. “And they could benefit from the extra down payment assistance, that that’s offered to try to make those higher priced homes affordable.”

Through the new down payment advantage program, the MFA is giving families a grant of $25,000 towards a down payment on a home. The grant won’t have to be repaid and can be paired with other programs. It’s available to families at or below 80% of the median income in their county.

There is a cap on home prices that also varies on where you live. For example in Albuquerque, homes can’t exceed $252,000 for brand-new houses.

MFA says they want to help 302 families with the program. They believe this will especially help people living in rural New Mexico.

More information on what it takes to qualify is available on the MFA website.