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Memphis buyers already taking advantage of new down payment assistance

MEMPHIS, Tenn.  -- Terry and Heather White are still unpacking a few boxes at their new Windyke area home.

They just recently moved in but are already enjoying the neighborhood.

Heather told WREG, "It's very quiet and peaceful."

Terry says he imagines spending most of his time in the back yard.

"We go in the back yard, barbecues, got a new little dog and need some space for him."

As first-time home buyers, the Whites were able to take advantage of a new down payment assistance program in Tennessee.

"It was a blessing."

It's a $15,000 interest-free loan owners don't have to pay back if they live in the house for at least 10 years.

"It helped us a lot you know, the pros about this, we even received a check at the end so we didn't have to pay anything, zero down."

"We're excited about the response we've seen already."

Ralph Perrey is the executive director of the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency, which administers the program. THDA secured $60 million that it will spread across 30 counties, including Shelby.

"In the six weeks that it's been up and running, we've added this kind of down payment to more than 200 mortgages across the state, and about 20 percent of that activity has been right here in Memphis," Perry said.

Perrey says the program is designed to help home buyers in areas that have been slower to rebound since the recession.

Read more about the program here

There are 17 qualifying zip codes in Shelby County, including 38125 where the Whites have planted roots.

"When you want better, you do better so when it's time to grow, you expand your wings and it's time to grow," Heather said.

"Just being able to finally get your own home, better late than never is the way I look at it, I'm happy," Terry said.