Oklahoma First-Time Home Buyer: 2022 Programs and Grants

Peter Warden
Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
November 30, 2022 - 8 min read

What to know about buying a house in Oklahoma

As an Oklahoma first-time home buyer, you’re in a relatively lucky position. Average home prices statewide are substantially lower than in most other states.

Not to mention, Oklahoma has special programs to help first-time home buyers who need an extra hand saving up to buy a home. The state and other organizations offer special mortgages, homebuyer education courses, and sometimes even cash toward your down payment. Here’s what you should know about becoming a homeowner in the Sooner State.


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Oklahoma home buyer overview

The median list price in Oklahoma was $234,500 in October 2022. That was a 7.4% increase from 2021, according to Redfin.

Housing inflation can make it difficult for first-time home buyers to save enough for a down payment and closing costs. So read on to discover programs that might provide you with cash assistance.

Oklahoma home buyer stats

Average Home Sale Price in OK1$234,500
Minimum Down Payment in OK (3%)$7,100
20% Down Payment in OK$46,900
Average Credit Score in OK2692
Maximum OK Home Buyer Grant35% of the sale price

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 Oklahoma

If you’re a first-time home buyer in Oklahoma 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:

  • 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 loan type, 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 640. Low mortgage insurance rates
  • Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency loans: May include mortgage credit certificates (MCCs) and generous 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.

Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs

The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) offers two types of mortgages: Gold and Dream.

  • OHFA Gold program: Requires you to be a first-time home buyer. Can be used with conventional and government loans
  • OHFA Dream program: Available to first-time and repeat buyers. Can be used with conventional and government loans

To qualify for a Gold mortgage, you must:

  • Have an income below a cap that varies from county to county and by household size. Find your cap
  • Choose your lender from a list of those approved by the OHFA
  • Have a credit score of 640 or higher
  • Live in the home as your principal residence and occupy it within 60 days of closing
  • Agree to a purchase price of $310,600 or less statewide

OHFA’s website has an eligibility tool to help you see if you qualify for one of its loans. Just answer a very few simple questions for an instant preliminary decision.

Although the OHFA doesn’t appear to require its borrowers to undergo home buyer education courses, those are always a good idea for newbies. And the Oklahoma Association of Community Action Agencies runs workshops that provide the information you need.

The OHFA also offers mortgage credit certificates (MCCs), which can reduce your federal tax burden by up to $2,000 a year. And these can be valuable even if you take the standard deduction rather than itemize.

Oklahoma first-time home buyer grants

The OHFA offers Oklahoma first-time home buyers up to 3.5% of the purchase price in down payment assistance. You must be using one of OHFA’s mortgage programs (listed above) to qualify for this assistance. You can call (405) 419-8207 or email ownahome@ohfa.org for more details.

It’s worth noting that teachers, first responders, law enforcement, and state employees are typically eligible for a discounted interest rate when they use one of OHFA’s home buyer assistance programs.

  • OHFA 4Teachers program: First-time buyers who are educators and teachers can receive a reduced mortgage interest rate, along with down payment assistance that’s equal to 3.5% of the total loan amount
  • OHFA Shield program: If you’re a first-time homeowner who is currently employed as a firefighter, law enforcement officer, or emergency medical service provider, then you may be eligible for a mortgage rate reduction and down payment assistance
  • Oklahoma State Employee program: Eligible state employees may qualify for a low-interest mortgage loan through OHFA

Meanwhile, REI Oklahoma says it offers a “gift of 3.5%, 4%, or 5% of the total loan amount” on FHA, VA, and USDA loans. Or a “gift of 3.5% or 4% of the total loan amount” on Freddie Mac HFA Advantage loans. Those are both grants that do not have to be repaid.

In addition, REI offers assistance of 3.5%, 4%, or 5% on Fannie Mae HFA Preferred mortgages. But that takes the form of a seven-year, forgivable, fixed-rate second mortgage.

Again, you need to confirm the details of this yourself by talking to one of REI’s approved lenders. But, typically, these second mortgages are “silent,” meaning you pay no interest and make no monthly payments. And, after seven years, the loan is forgiven in full.

REI is different from the OHFA and you’ll need to use its lenders, meet its eligibility criteria, and follow its rules to qualify. But it does sound attractive.

Buying a home in Oklahoma’s major cities

First-time home buyers in Oklahoma’s most populated cities face home prices that outpace the rest of the Sooner State. In fact, real estate prices in once-affordable Tulsa saw a dramatic 16.6% increase between 2021 and 2022. However, Tulsa still remains the most affordable of the three when it comes to housing costs.

Oklahoma City first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Oklahoma City was $275,000 in October of 2022. That was an increase of 3.8% 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:

  • $8,250 for 3% down payment
  • $55,000 for 20% down payment

The city government of Oklahoma City does not appear to offer down payment assistance to its residents. But the Community Action Partnership in the city does have a program.

It says its Oklahoma City HOME program covers up to $14,999 in down payment and closing cost assistance. This takes the form of a forgivable, fixed-rate second mortgage. So you make no monthly payments and pay no interest. After seven years, the loan is forgiven, provided you continue to meet the rules.

Tulsa first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Tulsa was $239,000 in October 2022. Home prices there rose 16.6% 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:

  • $7,200 for 3% down payment
  • $47,800 for 20% down payment

The Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa says that, after you’ve completed an eight-hour home buyer education course, it can provide “a portion of the purchase price up to $5,000 toward your down payment and/or closing costs” through Housing Partners of Tulsa, Inc. There are, as usual, income limits and home price caps. You can find the details by clicking that link.

Norman first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Norman was $299,000 in October 2022. That was an increase of 3.1% 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:

  • $8,970 for 3% down payment
  • $59,800 for 20% down payment

We could find no trace of a down payment assistance program on the City of Norman’s website. But, of course, you can apply for help from OHFA or REI, as can all eligible Oklahomans.

Where to find home buying help in Oklahoma

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

Statewide and regional Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs

Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs by city/town

What are today’s mortgage rates in Oklahoma?

You can see today’s live mortgage rates in Oklahoma here. Or, experiment with a mortgage calculator to see how down payment, interest rates, homeowners insurance, and property taxes will all affect your monthly mortgage payment.

When you’re ready to start the home-buying process, make sure you get personalized rate quotes from at least three mortgage lenders. Don’t just look at advertised rates online; actually 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.


1Source: Redfin.com Oklahoma Housing Market 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