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Complete guide to down payment assistance in the USA

Peter Warden
Peter WardenThe Mortgage Reports Contributor

In this article:

Down payment assistance (DPA) programs help homebuyers with loans or grants that reduce the amount they need to save for a down payment. There are four main types of DPA:

  • Loans (financing above and beyond the primary mortgage) that have to be paid down in parallel with your first (main) mortgage
  • Loans with deferred payments, which only have to be paid (in full) when you move, sell, refinance or finish paying down your first mortgage
  • Loans that are forgiven over a set number of years, and only need repaying if you move, sell, refinance or finish paying down your first mortgage while some or all the funds are yet to be forgiven
  • Grants, which are essentially gifts that never have to be repaid, although some programs make you pay a slightly higher mortgage rate to cover the cost

Programs vary by zip code, but you’re likely to get more money and qualify more easily if you’re buying in a so-called “target area.” Below you’ll find a state-by-state breakdown of various programs.

Down payment assistance is free money. Go get it

Do you even know that down payment assistance (DPA) programs exist? You’re in good company if you don’t.

These programs help homebuyers with loans or grants that reduce the amount they need to save for a down payment. And there are more than 2,000 of them nationwide. State, county or city governments run many of them.

Yet awareness among the people who need DPA most is very low. Read this guide to quickly learn what you need to know.

Click to see your low-downpayment loan eligibility (Oct 21st, 2018)

Why down payment assistance is important

A 2017 Zillow survey of 10,000 American adults found that two-in-three people who were then renting identified saving for a down payment as their biggest obstacle to homeownership.

Related: How to buy a house with no money down

Down payment assistance can get you over that big hurdle quickly. For instance, if you want to buy a $200,000 house and need 3 percent down to qualify ($6,000), it would take you two years and six months to come up with that by saving $200 a month. A 2 percent DPA grant or loan cuts that to just 10 months!

Real savings: $17,500 plus

A 2016 RealtyTrac study found those who used down payment assistance programs were on average $17,766 better off over the lifetime of their mortgages than those who didn’t. And nine of ten properties in the US qualify for down payment assistance if the buyers are eligible.

According to the study, borrowers saved money when they closed. But they then continued to do so. That’s because they owed less on their mortgage and had lower monthly payments.

Down payment assistance programs by state

Depending on whose addition skills you trust, there are between 2,000 and 2,500 programs from sea to shining sea. Here, we’ve mostly highlighted the ones offered by state governments, which may or may not be the best DPA program in each state.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lists many homeownership assistance programs including DPA on its State Pages.

Also, look out for special conditions that arise frequently. In particular, virtually all the programs require you to use one of the state’s own mortgage products and to do so through a lender that participates in the program.

You don’t need 20 percent down to buy a home

Most require you to either buy a home in which you’ll live, or purchase property in certain Census tracts.  If such conditions bar you from a program, explore others that cover your area.

There’s more you should know about down payment assistance (DPA) programs …

How much can I get?

DPA programs are something of a zip code lottery. Depending where you want to buy, you could be in line for nothing. Or a few thousand dollars in the form of a second mortgage, or many thousands in the form of a grant, which you never have to repay. In Seattle, Washington, you could get up to $55,000 as an interest-free loan that you don’t have to pay until you move, sell, transfer or refinance your home. And that could be decades later.

No down payment? You could crowdfund it

That RealtyTrac survey, mentioned above, found the average saving for a homebuyer using a DPA was $17,766. That broke down as $5,965 when closing, followed by $11,810 over the lifetime of the loan. But the amount you personally stand to save will depend entirely on your circumstances and the DPA programs where you’re buying.

And those numbers are averages: You could save $80,148 in Kauai County, Hawaii, over the lifetime of your loan. But, by the laws of mathematics, that means others must get much less than the average in other states and counties.

Why so many different programs and different rules?

All sorts of sources fund DPAs. Money might come from federal, state, city, county and charitable funds. And each of those is free to set its own eligibility criteria and rules.

No down payment? Startup Loftium can help with revolutionary new plan

You’re likely to get more money and qualify more easily, if you’re buying in a so-called target area. The federal version of these is also called a “Qualified Census Tract” (QCT). Those tracts are designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, based on household income data for the area.

Your state or other local authority may also designate target areas. They’re usually places that have experienced chronic and unusually bad economic problems, and are in need of regeneration.

Will I have to repay the money?

There are four main types of DPA:

  1. Loans (second mortgages) that have to be paid down in parallel with your first (main) mortgage
  2. Second mortgages with deferred payments, which only have to be paid (in full) when you move, sell, refinance or finish paying down your first mortgage
  3. Second mortgages that are forgiven over a set number of years (often five, but up to 15 or 20), and only need repaying if you move, sell, refinance or finish paying down your first mortgage while some or all the funds are yet to be forgiven
  4. Grants, which are essentially gifts that never have to be repaid, although some programs make you pay a slightly higher mortgage rate to cover the cost

Some second mortgages are interest-free, some have lower rates than your first mortgage and others require the same or a higher rate than that.

How do lenders know if you borrow your down payment?

A quick count of the programs listed above suggests all four types of DPAs are widespread. Grants are the most common, but not by much.

What about closing costs?

Some DPA programs explicitly say that you can use their funds for your closing costs as well as your down payment. Others may or may not have rules about that.

Getting sellers to pay your closing costs

When it comes to closing, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between monies. You have some savings, maybe a documented cash gift from a relative and now a DPA loan or grant. Who’s to say what money is going toward what expense?

What mortgage must I use?

Almost all DPA programs require you to borrow from an approved lender that is participating in your program. You may have to sign up for a particular mortgage product.

Related: Low down payment programs you’ve never heard of

However, that loan is often backed by one of a number of government agencies, including the Federal Housing Administration (for FHA loans), the Department of Veterans Affairs (for VA loans) and the Department of Agriculture (for USDA loans). Many also let you borrow conventional loans (ones not guaranteed by the government), including those backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In other words, the mortgage products in your DPA program may be very flexible.

What’s next?

By now, you might be reeling. You may know a whole lot more about DPA programs than you did a few minutes ago. But how does that information apply to the only mortgage you want?

We have compiled some of the most popular programs from each state, with links to state down payment assistance programs below.

While we have made reasonable efforts to make sure the information above is correct at the time of posting, it is subject to change without notice. Please check relevant websites.


 

Alabama

The Alabama Housing Finance Authority’s Step Up program offers to lend you your down payment in a 10-year second mortgage. That deal comes with conditions:

  • Your household income can’t exceed $97,300
  • You need a credit score of 620 or higher
  • Your new first (main) mortgage must be a Housing Finance Authority Preferred conventional loan from the Step Up program

Get more details from the Step Up homepage. And take a look at HUD’s list of alternative programs for Alabama.

Alaska Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) can provide a grant toward your closing costs — including your down payment.

You can get up to 4 percent of the purchase price of the home you’re buying. However, you may get only 3 percent if your credit score is particularly low. And you must have a score of 640 or above to be eligible at all.

You must be buying (not refinancing) a single-family home that you’re going to occupy yourself. And you must be financing that with a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Discover more at the AHFC’s Closing Cost Assistance Program webpage. And take a look at HUD’s list of alternative programs for Alaska.

Arizona Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Arizona Department of Housing’s Home Plus program provides up to 5 percent of the initial balance on your new mortgage. How much you might get will depend on the type of mortgage you choose.

No help is available for those buying in Pima County, and only certain mortgages are eligible in Maricopa County. You’ll need a minimum credit score of 640 to qualify for the program, and for some types of mortgage that needs to be 660.

For you to be eligible, your annual income must be $92,984 or less. And the purchase price of your new home cannot exceed $371,936.

Find out more at the Home Plus homepage. And take a look at HUD’s list of alternative programs for Arizona.

Arkansas Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) has a couple of helpful programs. Its ADFA Move-Up Choice can provide a grant (so you don’t have to directly repay it) of 4 percent of the new mortgage’s opening balance. You can use that for your down payment and other closing costs. Expect to pay a slightly higher mortgage rate than otherwise, because that’s how your grant will be recouped.

If that’s not what you need, the ADFA Down Payment Assistance Program offers between $1,000 and $6,000 in the form of a second mortgage, which is repayable over 10 years. You’ll get cash back to cover the closing costs of that second mortgage.

To be eligible for assistance, your income must be within limits linked to the median income for the county where you’re buying.

Visit the webpages of the ADFA Move-Up Choice and AFDA Down Payment Assistance programs to discover more — including income limits for your county. And take a look at HUD’s list of alternative programs for Arkansas.

California Down Payment Assistance Programs

The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) MyHome Assistance Program provides down payment help for eligible buyers. This takes the form of a second mortgage of up to 3.5 percent of the home’s purchase price or appraised value.

This is a first time home buyer down payment assistance program. So it won’t help if you’re selling an existing home. However, CalHFA defines first-time homebuyer as “someone who has not owned and occupied their own home in the last three years.” So many who’ve previously owned homes may qualify.

Check out the MyHome Assistance Program webpage for more information. You’ll find some income limits there. If you’re a teacher, find out about the Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program (ECTP). And take a look at HUD’s list of alternative programs for California.

Colorado Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation’s (CHAC’s) Down Payment Assistance Program is intended for first-time buyers. And, to qualify, you’ll need to have a low or moderate income compared to others in the area in which you buy.

You need to save up at least $1,000 of your own money (not a gift) toward your down payment to be eligible. If you’re part of the state’s disability program, that $1,000 is reduced to $750.

For more, visit CHAC’s website. And consult  HUD’s list of alternative programs for Colorado.

Connecticut Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) offers down payment assistance (DPA) in the form of a second mortgage. The interest rate on that will normally be the same as that for your first (main) mortgage. However, some borrowers may be entitled to lower DPA rates.

You have to pay a $200 application fee. And the minimum DPA loan amount is $3,000.  You can normally borrow between 3.0 percent and 3.5 percent of the purchase price of the home. But, if you have significant savings, you must put those toward your down payment until you’re down to your last $10,000.

Visit the CHFA Down Payment Assistance Program webpage. And check out this HUD webpage for other programs in Connecticut.

Delaware Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) has two DPA programs. The Second Mortgage Assistance Loan (SMAL) can lend you money toward your down payment and closing costs.

And its Advantage 4 program can give you a grant (which you don’t have to repay) for up to 4 percent of the opening balance on your new mortgage.

Discover more at the DSHA’s website. And find other DPA programs for Delaware on HUD’s website.

Washington, DC Down Payment Assistance Programs

D.C.’s Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) helps low- or moderate-income borrowers. Qualified low-income applicants get an interest-free loan of up to $4,000. And they need make no payments on that. The loan falls due when the home is resold or refinanced and must typically be repaid only then.

Qualified moderate-income borrowers can also get $4,000 as an interest-free loan. However, they have to start repaying that after five years.

Read more at the HPAP home page. And see other programs on HUD’s website.

Florida Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) has three DPA programs:

  1. 3-percent HFA Preferred Grant — Those who are eligible may get 3 percent of the home’s purchase price in the form of a non-repayable grant
  2. Florida Assist — You may be able to get up to $7,500 as an interest-free second mortgage. You don’t have to make payments on this, because it typically falls due only when you sell or refinance the home
  3. Hardest Hit Fund DPA — This is available only to residents of certain counties. It lends up to $15,000 interest-free for five years. But, each year, 20 percent of the loan is forgiven. So you pay nothing, providing you stay in the home that long

Discover more at the FHFC’s website. And check HUD’s list of alternative programs for Florida.

Georgia Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Georgia Dream Homeownership Program (GDHP) is principally a first time home buyer down payment assistance program. However, those who are not first-time buyers may still qualify if they are buying in certain “target” counties (see below).

You must contribute $1,000 of your own money toward your down payment, but can then get $5,000 — or $7,500 if you have a qualifying disability or work in certain key “PEN” occupations. And, if you are eligible under the first-come-first-served Hardest Hit Fund, you might get $15,000. There are eligibility caps on household earnings and home purchase prices.

Get all the details from the GDHP website, and download a PDF brochure in English or Spanish. And check out HUD’s list of other DPA programs in Georgia.

Hawaii Down Payment Assistance Programs

There isn’t an official statewide down payment assistance program for Hawaii. But that doesn’t mean no help is available. Hawaii Home Ownership Center is a non-profit mortgage brokerage offering 95 percent loans with no mortgage insurance.

Take a look at HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Hawaii.

Idaho Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) runs two DPA programs.

Good Credit Rewards is a 10-year second mortgage and is available to those with credit scores of 640+ or 680+, depending on the type of first mortgage you choose.  Its interest rate is higher than the main mortgage, and there are caps on the amount you can borrow as well as rules about how much you must personally contribute to your down payment.

The second program is called the HOME Down Payment Closing Cost (DPCC) Assistance. At the time of writing, this “is suspended until further notice.”

Visit the IHFA website to see whether it’s been reinstated by the time your read this, and to discover more about the Good Credit Rewards program. And check HUD’s list of alternative programs for Idaho.

Illinois Down Payment Assistance Programs

The 1st Home Illinois program offers a non-repayable grant up to $7,500 to those buying a home in Boone, Cook, DeKalb, Fulton, Kane, Marion, McHenry, St. Clair, Will or Winnebago counties. As the name implies, you must be a first-time buyer or not have owned a home in the last three years.

You’ll have to put up $1,000 or 1 percent of the purchase price (whichever is greater) yourself. And you must be buying an existing home: New-builds are excluded.

Learn more at the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s website. And consult HUD’s list of alternative programs in Illinois.

Indiana Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s (IHCDA) has two programs that offer a down payment assistance grant (not repayable) of up to 3.5 percent of the home’s appraised value or purchase price.

Helping to Own (H2O) is intended for first-time buyers, except in some target areas, while Next Home (NH) is open to those who already own a home. You’ll need a minimum credit score of 640-660, depending on the type of mortgage you choose. And some income limits apply.

For more information on these, visit IHCDA’s website. And check HUD’s list of other programs in Indiana.

Iowa Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) has two DPA programs that offer $2,500 for down payment and closing costs assistance. The FirstHome Plus program is for first time buyers and those who’ve not owned a home in the last three years, while the Homes for Iowans program is available to both first-time and repeat homebuyers.

Both have eligibility criteria, including a minimum credit score of 640, and caps on household income and the home’s purchase price.

Discover more at the IFA’s website. And take a look at HUD’s list of alternative programs in Iowa.

Kansas Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) has a first time home buyer down payment assistance program. However purchases within the city limits of Topeka, Wichita, Lawrence and Kansas City and in Johnson County are not eligible for help.

If you qualify, you could get a loan of 15-20 percent of the purchase price, depending on your income. And that loan should be progressively forgiven over time, meaning it could end up costing you nothing. One barrier: You yourself must make a minimum investment of 2 percent of the purchase price.

Get more details at KHRC’s website. And find alternative programs for Kansas on HUD’s website.

Kentucky Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) usually has three down payment assistance programs (DPAs). However, at the time of writing, one (the Hardest Hit Fund DPA) is unavailable. The two remaining ones are:

  • Regular DPA — Borrow up to $6,000 over 10-years with interest of 5.5 percent (that’s $65.12 monthly, if you borrow the maximum) at the time of writing.
  • Affordable DPA — Borrow up to $4,500 over 10 years with interest of 1.0 percent. But you must be within certain income limits to qualify.

Check the KHC’s website to see if the ultra-generous Hardest Hit Fund DPA is back on stream by the time you read this. And also get more information there on the other programs.  Meanwhile, consult HUD’s list of alternative homeownership assistance programs in Kentucky.

Louisiana Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Louisiana Housing Corporation’s (LHC’s) LHC Choice Conventional Program, LHC Preferred Conventional Program and Market Rate GNMA Program all provide up to 4 percent down payment assistance for eligible borrowers.

You’ll need a minimum credit score of 640 to qualify, and to meet household income limits that vary between programs. LHC Choice can offer an additional 2 percent to cover closing costs and prepaid items.

The Delta 100 program applies only to first-time buyers purchasing in Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, Franklin, Madison, Morehouse, Pointe Coupee, Richland, Tensas, West Carroll, and Ouachita (excluding Monroe). It offers 30-year mortgages with no mortgage insurance at just 2 percent fixed interest rate. You have to put down the lesser of 1 percent of the purchase price or $1,500 out of your own money. But you can get a grant of up to 3 percent toward your closing costs.

For more information on all these programs, visit LHC’s website. And look at HUD’s list of alternative homeownership assistance programs in Louisiana.

Maine Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Maine State Housing Authority’s (MSNA’s) First Home Loan Program is aimed at first-time buyers and those who’ve not owned a home within the last three years.

You get up to $3,500 toward your down payment and closing costs as a non-repayable grant. But that will be recouped by your lender through a slightly higher mortgage rate. Eligibility criteria include an unspecified minimum credit score and caps on your household income and home purchase price.

Discover more at MSNA’s website. And check HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Maine.

Maryland Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s (MDHCD’s) Down Payment Assistance and Partner Match Programs provide three forms of assistance:

  1. Zero-percent interest loans, which typically become payable only when your sell the home or refinance. So there are no monthly payments
  2. Forgivable loans, which are typically forgiven a bit at a time over several years. So you usually pay nothing unless you move or refinance before the time it takes to fully forgive the loan expires
  3. Cash grants, which never have to be repaid. These are provided only by MDHCD’s partners

Learn more at MDHCD’s website. And look for other homeownership assistance programs in Maryland on HUD’s website.

Massachusetts Down Payment Assistance Programs

If there is such a thing as a statewide down payment assistance program in Massachusetts, it’s a closely guarded secret. Still there are programs run by cities and counties that do the same job.

For example, the City of Boston helps first-time buyers and those who haven’t owned a home in the previous three years.  It gives them an interest-free loan of up to 3 percent of the purchase price for 10 years. Payments are deferred, and the loan is forgiven after that period. So, providing you don’t move, sell or refinance during the decade, you generally get the money for free.

For a list of similar, local programs in Massachusetts, visit HUD’s website.

Michigan Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has two programs that each offer up to $7,500 in down payment assistance. According to HUD, help comes in the form of interest-free loans that typically only fall due when you refinance, finish paying down your mortgage or sell the home. So there are no monthly payments. The programs are:

MI Home Loan — first time buyers and those purchasing in target areas whose income and home purchase price are within limits. You’ll need a minimum credit score of 640 or 660, depending on your choice of mortgage

MI Home Flex — Open to all who fall within income and home purchase price limits. You’ll need a minimum credit score of 660

Find out more at the MSHDA website. And find a list of other homeownership assistance programs in Michigan on HUD’s website.

Minnesota Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) provides two types of down payment assistance loans to eligible borrowers:

  • Monthly Payment Loan — Borrow up to $12,000 at the same rate you pay on your first mortgage. Pay that down each month over 10 years
  • Deferred Payment Loan — First-time buyers only can borrow up to $8,000 ($10,000, if you’re buying in a target area) free of interest. You make no payments, typically until you finish paying down or refinance your mortgage or sell the home.

Discover more at the MHFA’s website. And check HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Minnesota.

Mississippi Down Payment Assistance Programs

Mississippi Home Corporation’s Smart Solution Mortgage comes in two flavors:

  • Smart Solution Second — Lets you borrow your 3-percent down payment as a 10-year second mortgage, which has the same interest rate as your first mortgage
  • Smart Solution Plus — You get a 4-percent cash advance in the form of a grant, which you don’t have to repay

Both those require you to have a credit score of at least 620, and your household income cannot exceed $80,000 a year.

Find out more at the MHC’s website. And consult HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs operating in Mississippi.

Missouri Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) provides down payment assistance for both first-time and repeat buyers.  What’s on offer is a second-mortgage loan of up to 4 percent of the home’s purchase price. The good news is that loan will be forgiven after 10 years, providing you don’t move, sell, refinance or pay off your first mortgage during that time.

To qualify, your income must be below certain limits, which vary across different areas. You also can’t buy a single-family home with a purchase price over $303,231 (duplexes $388,245).

Get more information from the MHDC’s website. And check out HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Missouri, including one operated by the Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation.

Montana Down Payment Assistance Programs

NeighborWorks Montana helps households with incomes at or below 125 percent of your county’s median income, taking into account family size. However, it only operates in counties that lack similar programs, so you need to check its website (link below).

More generous assistance is available to certain families on incomes below 80 percent of their county’s median. But even higher-earning borrowers (up to 120 percent of median income) can buy a home with as little as 1 percent down.

The program has lots of options and rules, so read up on the details at NeighborWorks Montana’s website. And check HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.

Nebraska Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) provides assistance of up to 5 percent of the home’s purchase price for first-time buyers and those who’ve not owned a home in the past three years.

This takes the form of a 10-year second mortgage with a “very low” interest rate. There are caps on the home’s purchase price of $225,000 or $250,000, depending where you want to live. And there are limits on your household income that vary by your household’s size.

Download NIFA’s Homebuyer Assistance Program brochure for more information. And take a look at HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.

Nevada Down Payment Assistance Programs

The State of Nevada’s Home Is Possible Down Payment Assistance Program can provide a grant (not repayable) of up to 5 percent of your loan amount. And there are no asset limits or first-time purchaser rules.

To be eligible, your qualifying income must be below $98,500 and your credit score must be 640 or above. And the purchase price of the home must be under $400,000. You have to pay a one-time fee of $675.

For more details, visit the Home is Possible Down Payment Assistance Program’s webpage.  And check out HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Nevada.

New Hampshire Down Payment Assistance Programs

The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority’s Home Flex Plus program can provide up to 3 percent in cash to assist with your down payment and closing costs. And it’s a grant, so you don’t have to repay a cent.

The main hurdle for you to clear is that your income can’t exceed $116,300.

Get more information from the authority’s website. And tale a look at HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in New Hampshire.

New Jersey Down Payment Assistance Programs

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency usually has two down payment assistance programs. But, at the time of writing, one of those (HomeSeeker) has been temporarily suspended. Check to see if it has been reinstated by the time you read this.

The remaining program currently applies only to first-time buyers.  They can get up to 4 percent of their opening mortgage balance to help with down payment and closing costs. That’s an interest-free loan that’s forgivable over a period. So many may not have to repay any of it.

For more information, visit the agency’s website. And consult HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs operating in the state.

New Mexico Down Payment Assistance Programs

The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority offers help with closing costs and down payments to first-time buyers. It provides up to $8,000 as a 30-year second mortgage at a relatively low interest rate.

There are caps on household incomes and home purchase prices. But those may be higher if you’re buying in a target area.

Find those caps and much more information on the authority’s website. And read HUD’s list of other homeowner assistance programs in New Mexico.

New York Down Payment Assistance Programs

There are no statewide down payment assistance (DPA) programs in New York but you may be able to find a local option.

For example, SONYMA offers loans of up to $15,000 to first-time buyers who are recent college graduates and who are purchasing in certain communities in upstate New York. HPD is a New York City assistance program for eligible first-timers.

For links to other city and area programs in New York, check HUD’s list.

North Carolina Down Payment Assistance Programs

You may be eligible for help with your down payment of up to 5 percent of your opening mortgage balance with the NC Home Advantage Mortgage. That takes the form of a loan, but it is one that starts to be forgiven in year 11 of your mortgage and will be fully forgiven by year 15. But, if you sell, transfer or refinance before year 11, you’ll have to pay back the whole amount.

If you are buying in Cabarrus, Cumberland, Guilford, Johnston or Mecklenburg Counties, you may get an even more generous deal. If you’re eligible you could get a 5-year, interest-free loan of up to $15,000 toward your down payment. That’s forgiven at a rate of 20 percent a year. And that means you don’t have to make payments and should owe nothing on this loan by the end of year 5 — providing you don’t move, sell, transfer or refinance in that time.

Use the links above to get more information from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s website. And review HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.

North Dakota Down Payment Assistance Programs

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) has two programs (Start and DCA) that are intended to help with down payments and closing costs.

To qualify, you’ll have to have a family income below certain caps. And the value of the home you’re buying may also be limited.

Download NDHFA’s PDF sheet, Approved Second Mortgage/Grant Programs. And take a look at HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in North Dakota.

Ohio Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency has a down payment assistance program through its MyOhioHome.org resource. It provides either 2.5 percent or 5.0 percent of the home’s purchase price.

This comes in the form of a loan, which is forgiven after seven years. Sell, transfer or refinance before then, and you’ll have to repay the loan. You’ll need a credit score of 660 or better. And limits apply on incomes and purchase prices.

Get more information from MyOhioHome’s website. And consult HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Ohio.

Oklahoma Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency offers its OHFA Advantage Program. That provides down payment assistance grants (so not repayable) to eligible borrowers. Those grants can be 3.5 percent or 5.0 percent.

To qualify, you’ll likely need a credit score of 640 or better. And your household income will be capped at amounts that vary according to family size and the county of purchase. There are also limits on the purchase price of the home you’re buying, most commonly $275,665 or $214,925.

Learn more at the OHFA’s website. And take a look at HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs operating in Oklahoma.

Oregon Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) is involved in down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. They’re intended for “low-and very low-income families and individuals, with particular focus on underserved populations.” Up to $15,000 may be available.

OHCS appears to have outsourced administration of the program to various agencies across the state. So it’s possible rules, thresholds and caps may vary between those.

There’s a list of those agencies on the OHCS’s website, together with the county or counties each serves. Links are provided there to every agency. Also check out HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.

Pennsylvania Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s HOMEstead program can provide up to $10,000 to qualified borrowers in down payment assistance. To be eligible, your household income and the purchase price of the home you’re buying must be below certain limits (PDF).

Although the money is a zero-interest loan, it is one that is forgiven at a rate of 20 percent each year over five years. So, at the end of that time you should typically be free and clear of it, providing you haven’t moved, transferred ownership or refinanced in the meantime.

Get the details from the agency’s website. And consult HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Pennsylvania.

Puerto Rico Down Payment Assistance Programs

Puerto Rico provides grants of up to 5 percent of the purchase price on new homes and those refurbished by private developers. That purchase price must be in the range $94,000 and $143,000. Learn more at PRHFA Programs.

It’s not clear whether the U.S. Virgin Islands has a down payment assistance program as such. But its William’s Delight Home Ownership Program is intended to “empower our residents to achieve their housing dreams.” For more, call 340-772-1505.

Rhode Island Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Rhode Island Housing department offers a down payment assistance program for first-time buyers purchasing in Cranston, East Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick and Woonsocket. If you’re eligible, you can get up to $7,500. That’s a “forgivable” loan. That means you should owe nothing after five years, providing you stay in your home that long, and don’t sell the property or refinance the mortgage during that time.

You can’t borrow more than $453,100 for a one- to four-family home or eligible condominium. And your household income must be below $87,360 if you’re in a 1-2 person household. If your household comprises three or more people, the income cap is $101,920.

Discover more at Rhode Island Housing’s website. And explore HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.

South Carolina Down Payment Assistance Programs

Besides being a mouthful, the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage Loan Program is intended to help low-to-moderate income families and individuals who are purchasing a home for the first time.

Depending on your income, it may provide you with the funds you need to pay all or part of your required down payment.

For more details you must contact one of the lenders that participate in the program. Also check out HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs operating in South Carolina.

South Dakota Down Payment Assistance Programs

The South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) offers down payment assistance to first-time and repeat buyers alike.

If you’re eligible, you could receive a “gift” (grant) from the state of up to 3 percent of your opening mortgage balance. Actually, you’ll end up repaying that gift through a slightly higher mortgage rate. But there are few obvious strings besides that. There are caps on household incomes and home purchase prices that your lender will explain to you.

For more information, visit SDHDA’s website. And check HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.

Tennessee Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency has two down payment assistance programs, Great Choice Plus and HHF-DPA. Both provide help in the form of interest-free loans that only fall due when you move, sell your home, transfer it or refinance. And you make no monthly payments on it.

Great Choice Plus can provide you up to 5 percent of the home’s purchase price. HHF-DPA only applies in certain zip codes, and offers up to $15,000 regardless of the purchase price.

For a list of those zip codes and for more information on both programs, go to the agency’s website. And read HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Tennessee.

Texas Down Payment Assistance Programs

My First Texas Home is a program run by the state’s department of housing and community affairs. It can help those who are first-time buyers or who haven’t owned a home in the previous three years.

Those who qualify may receive down payment assistance of 3 percent, 4 percent or 5 percent of the loan amount, depending on the type of mortgage they choose. You may be eligible if your income is below a certain level and the home you want to buy has a purchase below a cap. Those levels and caps vary from county to county, and you can download a PDF detailing them all from the department’s website.

Find out more at the My First Texas Home … well, homepage. And consult HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Texas.

Utah Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Utah Housing Corporation (UHC) offers down payment assistance for repeat buyers, as well as those purchasing for the first time.  You can download a PDF from UHC’s website with more details.

The amount of assistance may be 4 percent, 5 percent of 6 percent of the amount of your first mortgage, depending on the type of loan you choose. Help comes in the form of a 30-year second mortgage with an interest rate 2 percent above that of your first mortgage. You’ll probably need a minimum credit score of 660, but that could be as low as 620 with a Score Loan or as high as 700 with a Fannie Mae conventional mortgage. There are caps on borrower incomes and home purchase prices.

Discover those caps and more at UHC’s website. And explore HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Utah.

Vermont Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency’s (VHFA’s) ASSIST Second Mortgage is open only to first-time buyers. It can provide up to $5,000 toward your down payment and closing costs.

That comes in the form of an interest-free, 30-year second mortgage. But you don’t have to make any monthly payments. The loan typically falls due only when your first mortgage ends: normally, when you pay it off, refinance or sell your home.

Learn more at the VHFA’s website (click on the ASSIST tab). And check out HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.

Virginia Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Virginia Housing Development Authority has a program just for first-time buyers. It offers a non-repayable grant of up to 2.5 percent of the home’s purchase price.

To qualify, you’ll need a minimum credit score of between 620 and 660, depending on the type of mortgage you choose. And your household income and the purchase price of your home must be below specified limits.

Find out more about these down payment assistance grants on the VHDA website. And read HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.

Washington Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) has a range of nine down payment assistance (DPA) programs. Help ranges from up to $10,000 or 4 percent of the first mortgage’s opening balance right to up to $55,000 for buyers in Seattle.

All these come in the form of a second mortgage. But you don’t have to pay that. It becomes due only “upon sale, transfer, non-occupancy or refinance” of the property.

View the list of DPAs on WSHFC’s website, and click through for details of each program. And consult HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.

West Virginia Down Payment Assistance Programs

The West Virginia Housing Development Fund offers help with down payments and closing costs. The amount you can get ranges from up to $5,000 to up to $10,000, depending on the mortgage you choose and the size of the down payment you’re going to make.

The help comes in the form of a 15-year second mortgage. At the time of writing, that loan has a very low interest rate of 2 percent.

Discover more on the development fund’s website. And read HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs available in West Virginia.

Wisconsin Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has a program called Capital Access Advantage. This provides up to $3,500 toward your down payment and closing costs.

This comes in the form of an interest-free second mortgage that falls due only when you’ve finished paying your first mortgage, refinance it, or move home. So there are no monthly payments. Learn more at the WHEDA website, where you should also check out the Easy Close Advantage down payment assistance program.

According to HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Wisconsin, ” allows eligible first-time Wisconsin homebuyers to receive grants of up to $ 5,000 toward a down payment, closing costs, reserves or other expenses related to a home purchase.” So be sure to investigate that, too.

Wyoming Down Payment Assistance Programs

The Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) has two down payment assistance (DPA) programs. Both provide a loan of up to $10,000.

You’ll need a credit score (FICO) of 620 or better, and must contribute at least $1,500 toward your purchase, though that may be a gift. The DPAs are:

  1. Home$tretch DPA — 0-percent interest rate (0.080 percent APR) with no monthly payments, due only “upon sale of the home, refinance or 30 year maturity”
  2. Amortizing DPA — Paid down in full with low monthly payments over 10 years

Find out more at WCDA’s website. And check out HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Wyoming.