Green Bay -
Tuesday afternoon, Green Bay city leaders approved a big grant for a local non-profit group to help people buy homes.
It comes at a time when demand from new homeowners is skyrocketing.
"I've had several properties over the last couple of months that have sold with multiple two, three, four offers and selling over the asking price, but those properties are well sought after, obviously they're in good locations, and they're priced right to begin with," says Todd Wiese of the Todd Wiese Home Selling Team.
Buying a home, especially your first one, is perhaps the biggest financial investment most people make.
And NeighborWorks Green Bay is seeing a flood of people ready to take that leap.
"I think that there's been some recovery in the market, and we've got families who are thinking about home ownership finally starting to take steps to shop," says Noel Halvorsen, NeighborWorks Green Bay Executive Director.
Halvorsen says the non-profit helped 123 families buy homes last year and expects the same, or more, in 2014.
That's double what he saw in the heart of the recession, although homeowners may have learned a lesson the last few years.
"People are being much more cautious. Our classes are full, not just with people who you might expect need assistance to purchase a home, but anybody who's thinking about buying a home are coming to the classes to get the solid education they need so they can be sure they avoid the pitfalls of home buying," says Halvorsen.
"I think people are rocking back on their heels a little bit and saying, you know, I'm just going to be a little bit more cautious here," says Wiese.
Many of those first time buyers need a little financial assistance with closing costs or down payments.
It's why the city is awarding NeighborWorks a $100,000 grant from federal funds to help as many as two dozen people buy homes.
Last year, 56 buyers received $273,627 in loans.
"I think folks are realizing the market is stabilizing, that prices aren't going to continue to drop. Prices are starting to climb again, and folks are realizing it's time to get in if they're going to purchase," says Halvorsen.
He says while more people are taking home buying classes, fewer are needing foreclosure counseling.
In fact, the Brown County Sheriff's Office reports foreclosures have steadily dropped the last three years. In 2012, there were 344 foreclosures between January and the end of June. 2013 says 275 foreclosures in the same time period, and there have been 196 so far this year.
Wiese says the number of first time buyers is actually down about 25 percent after a big 2013, but the market as a whole is rebounding.
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