Governor JB Pritzker’s administration on Tuesday announced two new programs to encourage home ownership by providing down payment assistance through IHDA, the Illinois Housing Development Authority. One is specifically for homebuyers with student debt and the other is apparently intended to help Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
Are we really doing anybody a favor by getting them into the Illinois housing market?
Confiscatory property taxes have hammered Illinois homeowners by robbing them of equity, particularly in minority and working class areas. Illinois homeowners are a quarter trillion dollars poorer than they would have been had their homes appreciated at the national average over ten years. That’s from our earlier report completed with the help of Zillow economists. It’s $1.3 million for every mile from here to the moon. There is no plan or idea of any kind under discussion in Springfield to reduce property taxes.
How much will the program cost? Pritzker’s announcement didn’t say though, mercifully, the programs appear to be fairly small, offering assistance to up to 7,000 homebuyers.
These two new programs are variations of similar ones offered through IHDA for decades by various administrations. Six years ago we criticized former Governor Pat Quinn’s, which was an obvious vote-buying scheme.
What has the default rate been on those programs? Good luck finding out. We tried earlier but got stonewalled with unreturned phone calls and a nothing-to-provide answer to a FOIA request.
And you gotta love this reasoning for the program offered by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin): “Since staying at home is such an important factor in the fight against COVID-19, it is imperative to find a way to help disadvantaged people afford a home.”
With vaccines coming within a month, she must be quite optimistic about how quickly the subsidized home purchases will close.