Michigan First-Time Home Buyer: 2024 Programs and Grants

By: Peter Warden Updated By: Ryan Tronier Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
February 13, 2024 - 8 min read

What to know about buying a house in Michigan

As a Michigan first-time home buyer, you can access free advice, counseling, and some special mortgage programs.

Better yet, you may be able to get cash assistance to bridge the gap between your savings and your down payment and closing costs needs. Here’s how to get started.

Verify your home buying eligibility in Michigan. Start here


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Michigan home buyer overview

The average home sale price in the state of Michigan was $228,400 in December 2023. That increased 5.1% year-over-year, according to data from Redfin.

Although some other states have seen faster home price growth, any hike can pose problems for Michigan first-time home buyers. It’s hard enough to save for a down payment even when prices are stable. So read on to learn about cash assistance that might top up your savings.

Verify your home buying eligibility in Michigan. Start here

Michigan home buyer stats

Median Home Sale Price in MI1$228,400
Minimum Down Payment in MI (3%)$6,852
20% Down Payment in MI$45,680
Average Credit Score in MI2719
Maximum MI Home Buyer Grant3Up to $14,000 loan forgivable after 5 years (Warren only)

Down payment amounts are based on the state's most recently available average home sale price. “Minimum” down payment assumes 3% down on a conventional mortgage with a minimum credit score of 620.

If you're eligible for a VA loan (backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs) or a USDA loan (backed by the US Department of Agriculture), you may not need any down payment at all.

First-time home buyer loans in Michigan

If you’re a first-time home buyer in Michigan with a 20% down payment, you can get a conventional loan with a low interest rate. And you never have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Of course, few first-time buyers have saved enough for 20% down. But the good news is that you don’t need that much. Not by a long shot. Borrowers can often get into a new home with as little as 3% or even 0% down using one of these low-down-payment mortgage programs:

Find the best first-time home buyer loan for you. Start here

  • Conventional 97: From Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. 3% down payment and 620 minimum credit score. You can usually stop paying mortgage insurance after a few years
  • FHA loan: Backed by the Federal Housing Administration. 3.5% down and a 580 minimum credit score. But you’re on the hook for mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) until you refinance to a different type of mortgage, move, or pay off your loan
  • VA loan: Only for veterans, active military members, reservists, and National Guard. Zero down payment is required. Minimum credit score varies by lender but often 620. No ongoing mortgage insurance after closing. These are arguably the best mortgages available, so apply if you’re eligible
  • USDA loan: For those on low-to-moderate incomes buying in designated rural areas. Zero down payment required. Credit score requirements vary by lender but often 640. Buyers must meet income limits, too, which vary by location and household size. Low mortgage insurance rates
  • MSHDA loan: May include competitive interest rates and can be used with down payment and closing cost assistance programs. More information below

Note that government loan programs (including FHA, VA, and USDA home loans) require you to buy a primary residence. That means you can’t use these loans for a vacation home or investment property.

In addition, most programs let you use gifted money or down payment assistance (DPA) to cover your down payment and closing costs. Depending on the mortgage loan you choose, you could potentially get into your new house with minimal cash out of pocket.

If you’re unsure which program to choose for your first mortgage, your loan officer or real estate agent can help you find the right match based on your finances and home buying goals.

Michigan first-time home buyer programs

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) recently eliminated its popular MI Home Loan Flex program. But first-time buyers are still able to take advantage of the MI Home Loan, which will finance loan amounts of up to $224,500.

MI Home Loan program

The MI Home Loan is a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that can be underwritten as an FHA, VA, USDA, or conventional loan. MSHDA also claims that borrowers will receive a below-market interest rate.

Additionally, the MI Home Loan can be paired with one of two down payment assistance programs. We cover both of those in detail in the next section.

Verify your home buying eligibility in Michigan. Start here

MI Home Loan requirements

Michigan first-time home buyers will need at least 3% down for the MI Home Loan, but MSHDA does offer financial help with the down payment.

To qualify, you’ll have to meet basic lending criteria as well as a few special rules set by the MSHDA:

  • Use a participating lender
  • Undergo a home buyer education class
  • Have a household income limits below the caps set by MSHDA (varies by place and household size)
  • Minimum credit score of 640 (or 660 when purchasing a manufactured home)
  • Meet stated home purchase price limits ($224,500 statewide)

You may also be eligible for a mortgage credit certificate (MCC) that can provide savings in the form of a tax credit on your federal taxes, perhaps for the lifetime of your loan.

Michigan first-time home buyer grants

The MSHDA offers down payment assistance loans rather than grants. This assistance comes in the form of a second mortgage that charges 0% interest and requires no monthly payments. You simply pay back the amount you borrowed when you sell the home, refinance, transfer, or finally pay off your mortgage in full.

  • MI DPA Loan Program: You can borrow $7,500 under this program anywhere in Michigan. And that’s more than the average 3% down payment in the state
  • MI 10K DPA Loan Program: If you’re lucky enough to be buying in one of 236 ZIP codes and are using an MI Home Loan, MSHDA offers loan amounts of up to $10,000
Let us help find the right mortgage for you

There are loads of other down payment assistance programs operating in the Wolverine State. And your city or county may well provide one.

So check out the list below and search for "[your city or county] down payment assistance” online. You need to find out which one is best suited to your needs, whether it’s a state or local program.

Buying a home in Michigan’s major cities

At $80,000, average home prices in Detroit are extraordinarily low by national standards for a major city. By comparison, Grand Rapids (at $309,900) and Warren (at $170,000) are a little closer to the norm, but still fairly low.

Verify your home buying eligibility in Michigan. Start here

Detroit first-time home buyers

The median list price in Detroit was $85,000 in October 2023. That jumped 11.5% year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $2,550 for 3% down payment
  • $17,000 for 20% down payment

As far as home buyer assistance, Detroit City lists “Potential Incentives Available to New or Current Homeowners in Detroit.

That includes the National Faith down payment assistance program for Wayne County. It says it “provides a fixed $14,999 loan for existing houses. This loan is forgivable after five (5) years at 0% interest.”

So, provided you stay in the home for five years and don’t sell the place or refinance, transfer, or pay down the mortgage in that time, you’ll owe nothing on your down payment loan.

Grand Rapids first-time home buyers

The median list price in Grand Rapids was $325,000 in December 2023. That was up 14% year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $9,750 for 3% down payment
  • $65,000 for 20% down payment

Grand Rapids’ Homebuyer Assistance Fund (HAF) helps residents achieve their dreams of homeownership by providing up to $7,500 for low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Buyers can use the money toward their down payment, closing costs, and prepaid expenses.

The website says you have to remain in the home for five years. But it doesn’t spell out what happens when that time’s up. Is the loan forgiven? Or is the debt repayable sometime after that? Call (616) 456-3677 or email communitydev@grcity.us to find out.

Warren first-time home buyers

The median list price in Warren was $160,000 in December 2023. That fell 5% year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $4,800 for 3% down payment
  • $32,000 for 20% down payment

The City of Warren Direct Homebuyer Assistance program says, “The City will provide half of the required down payment and up to $2,500 in closing costs (which includes prepaid taxes and interest) for a total not to exceed $14,000 per eligible household based on need.”

Provided you’re a responsible homeowner and remain in residence for five years, your whole down payment loan will be forgiven after those five years are up. Click the link for all the conditions.

That’s the best deal we’ve found in Michigan: A loan amount of up to $14,000 that’s forgiven after five years. It certainly beats the MSHDA’s home mortgage offer.

Let us help find the right mortgage for you

Where to find home buying help in Michigan

All the organizations we’ve listed above should provide advice freely to any first-time home buyer in Michigan or their local area.

In addition to our selection, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides a few lists for statewide, regional, and local resources.

Verify your home buying eligibility in Michigan. Start here

Statewide and regional first-time buyer programs in Michigan

You can see a list of Michigan first-time home buyer resources by city and town on HUD’s website.

What are today’s mortgage rates in Michigan?

You can see today’s live mortgage rates in Michigan here.

When you’re ready to start the home buying process, experiment with a mortgage calculator to see how down payment and interest rates will affect your mortgage payment. Then make sure you get personalized rate quotes from at least three to five mortgage lenders.

Don’t just look at advertised rates online. Apply for preapproval and compare the interest rates and fees you’re offered. Because that’s the only way to know you’re getting the best deal possible on your new home loan.

Time to make a move? Let us find the right mortgage for you


1Source: Redfin

2Source: Experian.com study of 2021 and 2020 data

3Based on a review of the state's available DPA grants at the time this was written

Peter Warden
Authored By: Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Peter Warden has been writing for a decade about mortgages, personal finance, credit cards, and insurance. His work has appeared across a wide range of media. He lives in a small town with his partner of 25 years.
Ryan Tronier
Updated By: Ryan Tronier
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Ryan Tronier is a personal finance writer and editor. His work has been published on NBC, ABC, USATODAY, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, and more. Ryan is the former managing editor of the finance website Sapling, as well as the former personal finance editor at Slickdeals.
Paul Centopani
Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Paul Centopani is a writer and editor who started covering the lending and housing markets in 2018. Previous to joining The Mortgage Reports, he was a reporter for National Mortgage News. Paul grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Binghamton University and now lives in Chicago after a decade in New York and the D.C. area.