PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The housing market is finally cooling, with experts predicting as much as a 15% drop in prices over the next year. But the hurdles to becoming a homeowner are still high, especially for people of color.

One way to tackle the homeownership gap is through financial assistance for homebuyers, such as homebuyer grants that can help more homebuyers overcome the biggest obstacles to homeownership, like down payments and closing costs.

Natalie Torres-Haddad, the author and host of Financially Savvy in 20 minutes, joined Everyday Northwest to share advice for first-time home buyers.

Torres-Haddad noted that despite inflation, experts still see a buyer’s market approaching with home prices dropping in the new year. She also highlighted homebuyer grants to help navigate the post-pandemic housing market, especially for people of color who may be impacted by the racial-wealth gap.

“Chase Home Lending rolled out a $5,000 home buyer program grant for majority Black communities in 2021, and it just recently announced expansion of the program to nearly 5,000 Latino communities across 20 markets in the U.S.,” Torres-Haddad said –noting the grant money can go towards closing costs or a down payment.

“For first-time home buyers, as well as those representing diverse communities, they are facing the same challenges which is the lack of understanding of the home buying process. And two, not having enough money for that down payment as well as those closing costs,” Torres-Haddad explained.

In addition to researching grant or mortgage programs, Torres-Haddad recommends homebuyers educate themselves on market trends and work with trusted professionals like realtors and lending advisors.