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A new initiative in Montgomery County, Md., provides up to $40,000 for home buyers in the form of a zero-interest loan for down payment or closing cost assistance.

The program, offered in partnership with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development through the Maryland Mortgage Program, will run through Dec. 31 or until all funds are spent.

The Montgomery Homeownership Program allows buyers to take advantage of several incentives, including:

• The deferrable zero-interest loan equal to 40 percent of household income, up to $40,000.

• 30-year fixed-rate financing through the Maryland Mortgage Program.

• Tax credit savings through the Maryland HomeCredit Program.

To be eligible for the program, buyers must:

• Be first-time home buyers, defined as not having owned a home within the previous three years.

• Complete a home buyer education class.

• Purchase the home to live in as their primary residence.

• Meet income requirements of a maximum income of $130,320 for a one- or two-person household and $152,040 or a three-person or larger household.

• Meet home price requirements of a maximum of $429,620 in a targeted area or $525,091 in a non-targeted area. A targeted area is a neighborhood the county government has chosen to offer incentives to increase homeownership.

• Meet credit requirements, typically 640 credit score or higher, depending on the lender and loan program.

For more information, visit http://mmp.maryland.gov/montgomery.

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