New down payment assistance is putting homeownership within reach of more consumers and boosting the buying power of others, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Federal mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac is piloting a groundbreaking program that lets homebuyers get half of a 20 percent down payment covered by a financial firm in exchange for home equity. The down payment assistance comes from Unison Home Ownership Investors (formerly First Rex) — a San Francisco-based firm that invests in homes alongside buyers and lets homeowners sell home equity for cash. If Freddie Mac expands the experiment, mortgages with investor-supported down payments could be available for more widespread use.

Read more on this development on Inman. Written by Teke Wiggin.