Helping kids buy homes

With the economy in turmoil and mortgage money tight, it's not easy to buy a home these days, especially for young adults. Many are getting helping hands from their parents.

Help with a down payment
Name: Mitchell Barton
Hometown: Tigard, Oregon

Mitchell Barton's parents, Curtis and Bridget, helped guide him through the minefield of first-time homebuying with good advice on how to shop for a house and by connecting him with a family friend who was an agent for Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.

"Most important, we provided the bulk of his down payment as a gift," said Curtis, who works as a water quality inspector. "Because of our help, he qualified for the best interest rate, and his principal was substantially lower, both of which in turn made his monthly payments affordable."

Mitch has a good job for a 27-year-old; he's an engineer at FLIR Systems, a maker of night vision and infrared equipment. Still, he simply hasn't had enough time to build up his savings. Without the $25,000 his parents came up with, he probably couldn't have afforded the modest three-bedroom house he bought in suburban Portland.

His parents -- who had gotten help from their parents 30 years ago to purchase their first home -- were glad to help. "I don't see this as anything unusual," said Bridget. "It's something that families should do if they can."

Mitch said that he has always been close to his parents but, "this is a milestone in our relationship." He added that he feels a firmer sense of responsibility and maturity and his parents are very confident that he will handle himself well.

"We know our son will continue to work and pay his bills on time, so it made sense to help him get started on building equity and building his life," said Curtis.

By Les Christie @CNNMoney - Last updated December 12 2011: 11:49 AM ET
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