New Hampshire First-Time Home Buyer: Programs and Grants for 2022

Peter Warden
Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
October 13, 2022 - 7 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.


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New Hampshire home buyer overview

The median list price in New Hampshire was $440,000 in September 2022. Home prices statewide were up 10% year-over-year that month, according to the New Hampshire Association of Realtors.

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$440,000
Minimum Down Payment in NH (3%)$13,200
20% Down Payment in NH$88,000
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.

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 you’ll 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:

  • 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. 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 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) “offers targeted loan products that may provide you with low down payment requirements, cash for down payment and closing costs and low- and no-mortgage insurance options.”

Mortgage loan programs

We could find only a few details on the NHHFA’s website about its three mortgage programs:

  1. Home Flex Plus program: Use in conjunction with FHA, VA, and USDA loans
  2. Home Preferred Plus: Use with a conventional mortgage
  3. Purchase Rehab mortgage: Use with a Home Flex Plus mortgage to buy a fixer-upper with a $35,000 rehab and renovation budget

To qualify for these mortgages, you’ll have to meet home purchase price limits and have an income below certain thresholds. You can see local household income limits on this factsheet.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

Manchester first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Manchester was $349,900 in September 2022. That was an increase of 12.9% 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:

  • $10,500 for 3% down payment
  • $70,000 for 20% down payment

The City of Manchester’s website 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 $425,000 in September 2022. That was an increase of 11.9% 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:

  • $12,750 for 3% down payment
  • $85,000 for 20% down payment

At the time of this writing, Nashua’s website said it was in the process of funding a home buyer program for both low- and moderate-income buyers. The HOME Investment Partnership Program was in the drafting stages, but could be a potential source of assistance in the near future. So check for updates when you’re ready to buy.

Concord first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Concord was $354,900 in September 2022. That was an increase of 14.1% 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:

  • $10,700 for 3% down payment
  • $71,000 for 20% down payment

Again, Concord City 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:

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.

And don’t just look at advertised rates online; actually 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.


1Source: Redfin.com New Hampshire Association of Realtors Monthly Indicators Report

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