There's a new twist now to the familiar phone call from son John or daughter Mary. Have you parents heard this one yet?
The hurried request, "Hey, Dad (or Mom), can you send me $100 right away?" has been upgraded to something like, "How about lending me some money for the down payment on a home?"
In both sales of existing homes and new dwellings now, more and more homes are being purchased with considerable financial help from the folks, an older brother or sister or the proverbial rich uncle.
The acronym VIP in today's housing economy can also mean "very important parent," a realtor friend tells us.
California housing, most expensive in the nation, has always been hard to come by, even with today's two-salaried couples. For the first-time buyer, the good old American Dream of home ownership has become a virtual luxury. The necessary down payment and closing cost figures can easily range upward to $25,000.
A quick perusal of the home-buying market shows that first-time buyers are receiving considerable--and welcome--help for their home financing.
One of the Southland's prominent home builders, Los Angeles -based Marlborough Development Corp., with 12 new housing communities under development, says first-time buyers getting financial help from their parents seem to be the rule rather than the exception.
For instance, in Moreno Valley at Marlborough Country on Sunnymead Ranch, new homes are priced upward from $106,990. Sales representatives there estimate that 80% of their first-time buyers now qualify with VIP help.
In Rancho Cucamonga, at Marlborough Meadows and Marlborough Country, where single-family homes range, respectively, in cost from $95,990 to $113,990, some 65% of first-timer buyers got parental help.
In Ventura, at Weston Communities' The Cape at Weston Village, a new town house project, prices start at $125,000. More than 50% of first-time buyers get some help from their families.
In Westminster, at Gfeller Developlment's Somerset Place, where new homes are priced from $125,900, about 25% of the first timers had help from Mom and Dad.
Sales personnel declare that without such family help, the majority of today's first-time buyers just cannot get into a home-buying position. Many lenders, aware of the comparatively new VIP procedures, now allow parents or relatives to help with down-payment money in the form of a "gift letter" toward the purchase price.
But the young buyer or couple must provide at least 50% of the down payment.
So, all you solvent VIPs, you may soon be asked to help buy another home.