New Hampshire First-Time Home Buyer: Programs and Grants for 2024

By: Peter Warden Updated By: Ryan Tronier Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
June 9, 2023 - 9 min read

What to know about buying a house in New Hampshire

Home prices in New Hampshire have risen in recent years, but not as rapidly as in many other parts of the country.

In other good news for first-time home buyers, New Hampshire has a variety of home loans and assistance programs that can help you save on your mortgage and homeownership costs. Here’s how to get started.

Verify your home buying eligibility in New Hampshire. Start here


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New Hampshire home buyer overview

The median sales price in New Hampshire was $434,300 in April 2023, up 6.8% year-over-year, according to Redfin.

Those rising prices can feel like a real challenge for first-time buyers. So read on to discover ways in which your state can help you move from home buyer to homeowner.

New Hampshire home buyer stats

Average Home Listing Price in NH1$434,300
Minimum Down Payment in NH (3%)$13,029
20% Down Payment in NH$86,860
Average Credit Score in NH2734
Maximum NH Home Buyer Grant3Up to 4% as a loan, forgiven after 4 years

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 U.S. Department of Agriculture), you may not need any down payment at all.

Verify your home buying eligibility in NH. Start here

First-time home buyer loans in New Hampshire

If you’re a first-time home buyer in New Hampshire with a 20% down payment, you can get a conventional loan with a low interest rate and no 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:

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  • Conventional 97: From Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. 3% down payment and 620 minimum FICO score. You can usually stop paying mortgage insurance after a few years once you reach 20% home equity
  • FHA loan: Backed by the Federal Housing Administration. 3.5% down and a 580 minimum credit score. Even though you’re on the hook for mortgage insurance premiums (MIP), refinancing from an FHA to another loan type will effectively cancel it
  • VA loan: Only for veterans and active-duty service members. 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 start at 640. Low mortgage insurance rates
  • New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority loans: May include no or low mortgage insurance, mortgage credit certificates, and down payment assistance. 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 lender can help you find the right match based on your finances and home-buying goals.

NH first-time home buyer programs

The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (NHHFA), also known as New Hampshire Housing, provides targeted loan products that may include low down payment requirements, cash for down payment and closing costs, and options for low- and no-mortgage insurance.

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

To qualify for these mortgages:

  • You’ll have to meet home purchase price limits and have an income below certain thresholds
  • You must also choose your lender from a list of lenders approved by the NHHFA. But it’s quite a long list and includes several national lenders that are highly-rated
  • You’ll need to complete a home buyer education course, too

NHHFA Home Flex Plus program

Home Flex Plus from New Hampshire Housing includes a choice of a government-backed loan (FHA, VA, or USDA) and up to 4% in combined down payment and closing cost aid. The help comes in the form of a second mortgage that can be completely forgiven after four years, unless you sell your home or refinance, in which case the loan must be paid back.

NHHFA Home Preferred Plus program

The Home Preferred Plus program also gives up to 4% help with the down payment and closing costs. But in this case, the help is combined with a conventional loan to cover up to 97% of the home purchase price.

If your income is less than 80% of the median income in your area, you can also get lower mortgage insurance rates. Both first-time buyers and repeat buyers can apply to this program.

NFHHA Purchase Rehab program

The New Hampshire Housing Purchase Rehab mortgage program combines the cost of buying a home and making repairs into one mortgage loan. This makes it easier for home buyers to pay for both the purchase and any needed repairs with a single, fixed-rate mortgage.

This program essentially combines a conventional loan through the Home Flex Plus mortgage to purchase a fixer-upper with a $35,000 rehab and renovation budget.

The total amount of the loan is based on the purchase price of the home plus the cost of eligible repairs. This can include updating the heating system, replacing the roof, or upgrading the energy efficiency. The repairs or improvements must be completed within a specific timeframe, usually six months after the sale. A qualified consultant or contractor will be required to supervise the rehabilitation process and ensure that certain standards are met.

Mortgage Insurance Discount Program

NHHFA’s homebuyer assistance programs may come with a mortgage insurance discount. That’s a big perk. Most first-time buyers hate PMI because it can be expensive, sometimes costing in the hundreds every month. So, if the NHHFA can eliminate or reduce your mortgage insurance premium, that could represent a serious savings in your homeownership costs.

Home Start Homebuyer Tax Credit

The NHHFA also offers mortgage credit certificates (MCCs), known as the Home Start Homebuyer Tax Credit. These are tax credits that can save you up to $2,000 each year on your federal tax bill. MCCs can be valuable, even if you take the standard deduction from the IRS rather than itemize your deductions.

You can learn more about becoming a homeowner, mortgage credit certificates, and the purchase-rehab loan program using one of the NHHFA’s online courses. And, if you still need more information, you can contact one of its approved lenders.

NH first-time home buyer grants

The NHHFA doesn’t offer grants to New Hampshire first-time home buyers. But it does provide forgivable loans, which can be used toward your down payment and closing costs.

NHHFA Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance

NHHFA says it lends “up to 4% of the loan amount in cash funds for downpayment and closing costs.” These loans are second mortgages. But they are “silent,” meaning you don’t make monthly payments or pay any interest.

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Best of all, the NHHFA forgives your loan after just four years, provided you remain in residence and don’t sell the home or refinance during that time. So the program is nearly as good as a grant if you plan to stay in your home for four years or more.

You can talk to one of the program’s participating lenders to see if you qualify. Similarly, an experienced real estate agent should know whether or not there is any home buyer assistance available in your target areas.

NHHFA Community Heroes Initiative

The New Hampshire Housing Community Heroes Initiative aims to support and recognize the valuable contributions of community heroes, such as educators, first responders, and healthcare workers. This initiative helps make homeownership more affordable for these professionals by providing them with competitive mortgage rates and reduced costs on mortgage insurance.

To be eligible for the Community Heroes Initiative, applicants must be employed full-time in an eligible profession, which typically includes teachers, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and healthcare professionals. In addition, applicants must meet the standard income and credit requirements for NHHFA mortgage programs and complete a home buyer education course.

The Community Heroes Initiative can be combined with other NHHFA mortgage products and down payment assistance programs, such as Home Preferred, Home Flex, or Home Preferred Plus, to further enhance affordability and provide additional financial support to these professionals.

Other New Hampshire first-time home buyer assistance programs

In addition to the assistance provided by New Hampshire Housing, prospective homeowners should research additional DPA programs offered in their neighborhood.

For instance, the City of Keene has a Homebuyer Assistance Program that helps first-time home buyers with low incomes with down payments and closing costs. The program offers a loan with no interest and no payments for a set amount of time if the homeowner stays in the house.

In the same way, the HomeTown Program in the city of Portsmouth helps people and families who want to buy their first home by offering financial assistance. To be eligible for the program’s closing cost and down payment assistance, an individual or family must meet income and eligibility requirements and be a first-time homebuyer. Income limits are based on household size.

Buying a home in New Hampshire’s major cities

If you wish to buy a home in one of New Hampshire’s three biggest cities, you may be in luck. Average home prices in Manchester, Nashua, and Concord are lower than the statewide average.

Verify your home buying eligibility in New Hampshire. Start here

Manchester first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Manchester was $375,000 in April 2023, according to Realtor.com. That increased 11.9% year-over-year.

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

  • $11,250 for 3% down payment
  • $75,000 for 20% down payment

The City of Manchester mentions funding sources that are sometimes used for down payment assistance but doesn’t refer to any programs of its own. We suspect you’ll have to use one of the NHHFA’s programs if you want this sort of help.

Nashua first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Nashua was $434,900 in April 2023, a jump of 8.7% 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:

  • $13,047 for 3% down payment
  • $86,980 for 20% down payment

The City of Nashua offers the HOME Program, which provides down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers. The program offers a deferred, no-interest loan with a term of up to 10 years. The loan is forgivable after a specified period if the borrower continues to occupy the property as their primary residence.

Concord first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Concord was $365,000 in April 2023, according to Realtor.com. That rose 11.6% year-over-year.

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

  • $10,950 for 3% down payment
  • $73,000 for 20% down payment

Concord Housing & Redevelopment, the city’s housing agency, appears not to have a down payment assistance program on its website. But you could call city hall at (603) 225-8610 to check. Otherwise, the NHHFA’s program is a good option.

Where to find home buying help in New Hampshire

All the organizations we’ve listed above should provide advice freely to any first-time home buyer in the state of New Hampshire or within their areas.

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

Verify your home buying eligibility in New Hampshire. Start here

Statewide and regional first-time home buyer programs in NH

NH home buyer programs by city/town

What are today’s mortgage rates in New Hampshire?

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

When you’re ready to start the home-buying process, make sure you get personalized rate quotes from at least three mortgage lenders.

But don’t just look at advertised mortgage interest rates online. Apply for preapproval and compare the interest rates and fees you’re offered. 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.com New Hampshire Housing Market Overview

2Source: Experian.com study of 2022 and 2021 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.