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Delaware Housing Authority Director Anas Ben Addi speaks during Thursday’s Homeownership Month event on The Green in Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Dr. Tony Allen eyed local realtors and said “You see us as the market.”

Delaware State University’s provost indirectly included Wesley College and the University of Delaware with his school.

A $10 million Delaware State Housing Authority initiative for prospective young home buyers launched during a Thursday morning ceremony and opened for business soon afterward.

Recent college graduates are now eligible for discounted rates on down payment assistance loans provided by the DSHA. Four-year degrees within the last three years are required.

The aim is to jack up the First State’s economy by enticing college graduates to stick around, providing employers with highly qualified job candidates making Delaware home.

“Our challenge is to get them to stay here and attract them to the state so businesses can thrive,” Gov. John Carney said.

Promoted by the motto “Kiss Your Landlord Goodbye!” the “Home for Grads” program shaves dollars off down payments, closing costs and first mortgage interest rates. A 30-year, $200,000 fixed loan could be lessened by $24,000 saved over time, or $70 to $80 monthly.

College graduates carrying large debt obligations (65 percent of Delawareans) will at least have better buying power to begin accumulating wealth through what Dr. Allen described as the biggest asset of all — owning a home.

According to DSHA Director Ben Addi, “It’s our way of helping not just a family but the community.”

Gov. John Carney speaks during the Homeownership Month event on The Green in Dover.

Discover Bank collaborated with the DSHA to support the program, continuing its commitment to assisting low- and moderate income borrowers settle in to a residence that’s theirs. More than 2,200 families benefited from $350 million in mortgage financing to buy in last year.

“The Home for Grads Program is an excellent example of DSHA’s creative strategies to improve the mortgage program,” Bank President James J. Roszkowski said.

The program is tailored to thwart the so-called “Locust mentality” where “They come down, they consume and they leave,” Wesley College President Robert E. Clark Jr. said. He’d rather see graduates remain local just as “birds that nest.”

Guaranteed Rate Vice President Tracy Chongling has a good daily pulse on those challenged to begin the home buying process.

“I hear every day from Delawareans who do not think they will be able to afford a home, including many college graduates who have not been able to save for a down payment due to student loan debt,” she said.

“This new program will help so many of these individuals and families achieve the American dream of buying their own home.”

Income limits are available online at kissyourlandlordgoodbye.com and a minimum 620 credit score is required. DSHA will assist low credit candidates in increasing their scores and those at 659 or below are required to participate in housing counseling.

A loan must be repaid upon the sale, transfer or refinance of the home, or when it is no longer the borrower’s primary residence.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com