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LA is bringing back a program to help middle class families buy homes

U.S. home prices jumped 12.2 percent in May compared with a year ago, the biggest yearly gain since March 2006. The increase shows the housing recovery is strengthening. (Photo: A home for sale in Central Los Angeles.)
Christopher Okula/KPCC
A home for sale in Central Los Angeles.

Los Angeles’ city council voted Tuesday to approve $2 million in new funding to revive the city's dormant Moderate Income Purchase Assistance (MIPA) program for first-time home buyers.

The idea is to keep middle class families in LA, close to their jobs and their kids’ schools — and to boost the city’s homeownership rate of 35.9 percent, among the lowest in the nation.

Families of four earning earning more than $77,501 a year but less than $116,300 could qualify for zero-interest loans of up to $60,000. However, the loans are first-come, first-served. And the city only expects to help about three dozen families before funding dries up again.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the MIPA program's loan limits. Eligible households in a lower income bracket can receive up to $60,000. The department is legally authorized to loan up to $75,0000, but in practice it does not lend more than $60,000.