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Big Bear Lake First-Time Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance Program

First-time home buyers are getting a lot of help these days.  We already have the $8,000 home buyer tax credit.  Then, the California Association of Realtors launched the C.A.R. Mortgage Protection Plan last month.

The City of Big Bear Lake is getting into the mix as well.

As proposed by the Big Bear Lake City Council Improvement Agency, the first-time home buyer down payment assistance program will provide for an advance of up to 5% or $19,000 (whichever is less) towards the buyer’s down-payment on a primary home of $380,000 or less.  This 5% is considered a loan, but the loan will be forgiven if owner does not sell, refinance or transfer title within 10 years.

The plan is geared toward helping first-time home buyers in purchasing distressed properties – foreclosure, short sale, and those on the market over 6 months – in Big Bear Lake.

As with everything, here are the restrictions in order to receive this assistance –

Buyer Eligibility:

Moderate Income of 81% to 120% of AMI as adjusted for household size (see table below)
First Time Homebuyer that has not held an ownership interest in a home for the last 3 years
Qualify for a standard 30 year fixed-rate FHA, Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae fully documented mortgage through an institutional lender
Occupy the house as the principal place of residence
Must provide own funds to close escrow in an amount of at least 2% of home purchase price
Must have lived or worked in the Big Bear Valley for at least the past year
Must not have more than 10% of home purchase price in cash, savings and other liquid assets

2009 Minimum and Maximum Income Limits by Household Size:

HH Size 1 2 3 4 5 6
Min. Income $37,301 $42,651 $47,951 $53,301 $57,551 $61,851
Max. Income $54,200 $61,900 $69,950 $77,400 $83,600 $89,800

Home Eligibility:
Located in the City of Big Bear Lake
Foreclosure or Short-Sale Property; or listed for sale on the MLS for a minimum of 6 months
Maximum purchase price of $380,000


Up to 5% of purchase price or $19,000 (whichever is lower)
Deferred, silent second loan at 3% simple interest with no monthly payments
Repayment is deferred until property is sold, refinanced or title transferred at which time loan plus accrued interest is due and payable
Loan is forgiven if owner does not sell, refinance or transfer title within 10 years

Annual Certification:
Buyer must return a copy of their annual State of California or Federal Tax Return and a signed affidavit provided by the Agency certifying that they are occupying the home as their principal residence.  Failure to do so will trigger loan repayment plus accrued interest.

Program funding allocated annually in the City budget process from the Low and Moderate Income Housing Fund; and is provided on a first-come first-served basis.

Big Bear Lake residents of lower income levels (up to 80% of AMI) may qualify for the San Bernardino County Homeownership Assistance Program.

As I have said here before, we have few primary home or first-time home buyers in the Big Bear real estate market.  With all of the restrictions that apply as well, it only lowers the number of eligible buyers.

Therefore, I don’t expect this to have a large impact on the overall market number.

But, with lower prices, lower interest rates, and a large number of properties for sale, it looks to be a great opportunity for those select few first-time home buyers in Big Bear that can take advantage of it.


  1. Paula Barnett says

    Is the income chart amount listed the gross or net of a person’s income.

  2. what about folks who want to relocate up there? Is there a local program for them? I wouldn’t qualify because I don’t live or work there now.

    • Not from the City of Big Bear Lake Nancy, but as long as it is a primary home, you should still be able to the get the Federal Tax credit. Given the super low interest rates, and lower home prices, it is still a pretty good time to look at buying.

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