Attention Bolton Hill renters: city doubles homebuying incentives

Baltimore City increased incentives for first-time homebuyers to $10,000 in down-payment help and closing-cost support for eligible households, as of May 1. Additionally, qualified homebuyers purchasing homes in so-called Impact Investment Areas will be eligible for $20,000 in first-time homebuyer incentives. Some employers also contribute toward a home purchase.

“This is a very good thing. If you consider a young couple renting in Bolton Hill, if they work at Hopkins or one of the other employers that support homeownership, they can buy a condo or single-family residence and have lower payments than their rent,” said Marci Yankelov, a Bolton Hill realtor. Buyers still must qualify for a mortgage, she added.

The mayor said expanding the program, which originated years ago, is part of his strategy to increase Baltimore’s population of middle-income families and is central to the City’s response to declining population numbers.

The First-Time Homebuyers Incentive Program is funded with Community Development Block Grant funds. Eligible buyers must purchase the home for owner-occupancy and have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Currently, AMI is $55,950 for a household of one, $63,950 for two, or $79,900 for four. If conditions are met, the city will excuse 20% percent of the loan each year over five years so that it effectively becomes a gift.

An additional $5,000 is available to homebuyers who purchase the house they have rented and occupied for at least six months, or have a household member with a disability.

Approximately $2.5 million is available. The Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) administers the program. In past years DHCD has awarded about 200 loan/grants like these annually, on average. For additional information about the First-Time Homebuyers Incentive Program and other Baltimore City homeownership incentives, visit