As home prices continue to rise in the Seattle metropolitan area, it’s important to know what resources are available for local homebuyers. One of those resources is Pierce County’s down payment assistance program.

The program applies to second mortgages for qualified borrowers, for residences within Pierce County limits and outside of Tacoma, Lakewood, Bonney Lake, Auburn, and Pacific city limits.

The second mortgage program works in conjunction with the Home Advantage or Opportunity first mortgage loan programs. It allows for up to $24,900 in down payment assistance. Payments are deferred for 30 years at 4 percent simple interest.

The maximum purchase price has increased to $313,500 for an existing home and $417,995 for a new construction.

The following rules apply:

• The home must have not been occupied by a tenant within the last 90 days.

• The borrower must be a first-time homeowner who has not owned a home in the past three years.

•  The buyer must attend a free Washington State Housing Finance Commission Homebuyer Education Seminar and receive a certificate, as well as attend a one-on-one pre-purchase counseling session prior to closing.

Funds can be used for down payment and closing costs. The minimum down payment requirement is $1,000.

For more information, visit: http://www.wshfc.org/buyers/Pierce.htm

The City of Tacoma offers down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers living with the city’s limits as well.