The health of the Wisconsin housing market relies on finding new opportunities in the form of first-time home buyers. As demand for housing expands, developers and financing projects are encouraged to put their energies into a growing industry. But when interest rates rise and housing becomes less affordable, home ownership falls, and the entire market suffers as a result. In the early 1980’s, mortgage rates began to rise at an unprecedented speed, causing homeownership to be near impossible for even moderate-income home buyers.
With the housing market declining, WHFA, now WHEDA, quickly began the development of the Home Ownership Made Easy (HOME) program in 1980, whose pilot initiative met overwhelming success. When the program officially launched on August 15 of 1983, its explosive popularity allowed it to deploy all $43.6 million in mortgage loans by August 19. The program, dedicated to first time home buyers, would offer WHEDA mortgage loans through participating lenders. The mortgages were offered at 30-year, fixed rates to first-time home buyers of low-to-moderate-incomes.
By the end of 1989, just seven years after its launch, the program had closed over 28,000 home loans. For many families, the HOME program was their means of investing in their future wealth. Due to its popularity and ingenuity amongst Wisconsin home buyers, the HOME Program became a staple amongst WHEDA’s lending products. The HOME program continues to this day as the WHEDA Advantage.
For decades, the HOME program has proved monumental in improving the housing market of Wisconsin communities by ensuring that families will be able to purchase a home they can afford long-term. For many, the program is a saving grace, making the dream of home ownership a reality.