ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has expanded the state’s landmark SmartBuy initiative to address rising housing market prices. To help manage purchase costs, homebuyers can now eliminate up to $50,000 in student loan debt—up from $30,000. The program has also added an additional down payment and closing cost loan option for lower-income borrowers.

“As the country continues to deal with an inflation crisis, we are again taking steps to provide relief to Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “Our SmartBuy initiative—the first of its kind in the country—has established a national model for removing persistent roadblocks to homeownership and financial security, and this expansion will allow us to help even more families.”

Up to $50,000 In Student Debt Payoff Assistance. Through the SmartBuy 3.0 product, buyers purchasing an eligible home through the Maryland Mortgage Program can receive either 15% of their home purchase price or $50,000 in student debt payoff assistance—whichever is lower.

“As interest rates increase and demand drives housing prices up, the State of Maryland is always looking for innovative ways to help make homeownership affordable,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “Launched more than five years ago, SmartBuy was the first government mortgage program in the nation to specifically address student loan debt, which is a significant barrier for many potential homeowners.”

More Options for Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance. SmartBuy borrowers with income at or below 50% of the average median income have a new option of receiving a 6% down payment and closing cost assistance loan. All SmartBuy borrowers continue to have the option of $6,000 or a 4% down payment and closing cost assistance loan.

These enhancements to SmartBuy 3.0 are additional ways the Maryland Mortgage Program is making homeownership more affordable. Other new products and enhancements offered for Fiscal Year 2023 include:

  • Base-down payment assistance has been increased from $5,000 to $6,000.
  • HomeStart is a new loan product for borrowers with income below 50% AMI to assist them with a 6% down payment and closing cost assistance loan.
  • HomeAbility, for homebuyers with disabilities, to provide increased funding and a flexible loan structure.
  • Montgomery Homeownership Program VII reopens for the seventh year in a row and will offer up to $25,000 in down payment assistance, in partnership with Montgomery County.

During the Hogan administration, the Maryland Mortgage Program has provided over $5.1 billion in mortgages, $121.7 million in down payment assistance, and $25 million in student debt relief.

The Maryland Mortgage Program offers a wide variety of mortgage products specifically tailored to make homeownership affordable and sustainable, including flexible government and conventional loans that come with various levels and forms of down payment and closing cost assistance and attractive interest rates for both first-time and repeat homebuyers, conventional refinancing and even student debt relief. To learn more and find out which product is right for you, visit mmp.maryland.gov and contact a participating lender.


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