OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – Even as the housing market begins to stabilize in Utah, many potential buyers are still finding themselves out of luck. However, one program in Ogden may help change that luck for those looking to make the city home. Own in Ogden is a down payment loan program that provides up to $20,000 in assistance.  

Houses, they’re a hot commodity these days and for nearly two years they’ve been selling in less than a week after being put on the market. However, things are beginning to slow down in northern Utah.  

“Houses are sitting a little longer on the market, but they are being bought,” Melissa Hernandez told ABC4. Hernandez was born in Mexico, grew up in Davis County, moved to Ogden as a teen, married a man from Ogden, and is now a realtor in the area with Ridgeline Realty. She told ABC4 she loves Ogden and is excited to see Own in Ogden help first-time buyers get into a home and make the city home.  

“We’re seeing prices go down which is really beneficial for buyers and buyers can really negotiate everything they want right now in a home,” Hernandez stated.  

Even as homes sit on the market a little longer than they have over the last two years and prices begin to level off, many can’t afford the down payment needed to buy. Hernandez explained that many hopeful buyers spend more on rent than they would on a mortgage, and this often means it can take years of saving to have enough for a down payment.   

“We use federal funds to help people get into homes,” Jeremy Smith stated. Smith is the deputy division manager for Ogden City’s community development division. The federal funds he mentioned are the funds that make Own in Ogden possible. It is a down payment loan program.   

“To encourage homeowner occupancy in the city, we’ve increased the amount to encourage them to come and to stay,” Smith explained. The program isn’t new. However, Smith told ABC4 that the amount offered to people through the program is now significantly higher than it was in the past. Previously, he said, people could expect to qualify for around $2,000 to $3,000. Now, in some cases, that amount has increased 10-fold. 

Ogden City police and firefighters can qualify for up to $20,000 in assistance. Certified teachers, school administrators and Ogden City employees may qualify for up to $15,000. Anyone who is buying their primary home in Ogden City limits may receive up to $10,000. The assistance is based on income and may only be applied to the purchase of a home that is $385,000 or less. More information on who qualifies can be found here.

“We want to keep our employees here, so we’re trying to be creative; come up with ways to incentivize them to stick around,” Smith told ABC4. He explained that the city will award the funds through the Own in Ogden program until they run out. However, the program will continue to operate in the future and funds will be renewed (through federal programs) and a yearly basis.  

“I think Ogden is such a cool place to be,” Hernandez stated. “There are always things going on in the community, and it’s just, you want to be a part of it.”