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Pima County program helps first-time buyers break into housing market

Pima County is expanding a program that aims to help first-time homebuyers navigate the high-interest housing market. The program is called Lighthouse, and it’s run by the Pima County Industrial Development Authority. It’s the latest project of an initiative launched in 2012 to address housing affordability in southern Arizona. 

Program officials say the median single-family home in Pima County has risen more than 50% since the end of 2019. Meanwhile, federal interest rates have shot up from 2.5% to 8.5%.

They say those two factors have made it increasingly difficult for potential homebuyers to make purchases. Through Lighthouse, eligible buyers can apply for  low-interest, fixed-rate mortgages that won’t change with the market.

County officials say the latest funding puts $25 million toward the project. Applications are open and expected to fill up by this summer.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.