Ocean County Program Offers $15,000 To First-Time Homebuyers

Perhaps nothing epitomizes the American Dream more than home ownership.

Thanks to Ocean County’s First-Time Homebuyers program, 585 families to date – with more to come – have realized their dream.

“It’s timely that June is celebrated as National Homeownership month,” said Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners, Barbara “Bobbi” Jo Crea. “What better time to talk about this vitally important program and the positive impact it has had on so many.

Utilizing annual funds from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the program provides a down payment and closing cost assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals and families living in Ocean County.

Successful applicants are awarded a $15,000 deferred loan that is forgiven after 6 years, Crea said.

“In return the homebuyers must provide at least 3 percent toward the down payment,” she said.

“This is truly a joint effort between the county and eligible families to ensure that as many people as possible will always have a roof over their heads.”

Potential applicants must meet the HUD income requirements, demonstrate a steady employment history and have sufficient income and credit score.

Applicants are also required to attend HUD-Certified Homeownership Education workshops.

To date, HUD has awarded $5.4 million in HUD funds to help purchase $82.4 million in property.

“I believe this has been one of the most successful programs in Ocean County’s history,” Crea said. “I am very proud that this Board of Commissioners has helped so many people purchase their first home.”

It is anticipated that up to 25 applicants will be served over the next year, she said.

The average home price from 2020 to 2023 was approximately $190,000.

Currently, the HUD maximum purchase price is $438,000 for a single-family home in Ocean County.

“Due to the rising cost of housing, the program is even more valuable now as the $15,000 subsidy plays a significant role in purchasing the home,” Crea said.

O.C.E.A.N., Inc. has been the program administrator since 1997.  O.C.E.A.N., Inc. has a Certified Housing Counselor on staff who provides client intake, eligibility screening, and coordination with the real estate agent, lender and attorney

For more information on this program, visit the Ocean County Planning Department website or contact O.C.E.A.N., Inc. at 732-244-5333.

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