Earlier this month Portland Oregon announced a new program to encourage residents to purchase a home near public transportation.

The program, a joint effort by Fannie Mae, Countrywide Homes Loans, the local Portland Rose Quarter Transit Center, and other local agencies, recognizes the costs associated with private commuting and allows buyers to convert those costs into additional borrowing power when purchasing homes near public transit.


In addition to small perks such as free passes on local buses and light train lines, the Portland Smart Commute Initiative offers:

  • Increased buying power. Participating lenders will add a portion of potential savings in commuting expenses to borrowers' qualifying income - $200 per month for a single wage earner, $250 for two wage earner households. This can translate into thousands of dollars in increased buying power.

  • Possible lower down payments. Countrywide may be able to offer a down payment of only 3% depending on income eligibility.

Add this to the lessened impact on the environment from decreased auto usage and decreased stress from hours behind the wheel in bumper-to-bumper traffic and programs such as these are a winning situation