New York State First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2021

Jan 1, 2021

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The State of New York Mortgage Agency, or SONYMA, offers special programs to qualified first-time home buyers who want to purchase property in-state. If you haven’t owned a primary residence during the past three years, SONYMA considers you a first-time home buyer.

National first-time home buyer programs

You don't have to be an Empire State resident to access these national programs. They are a good first step before you drill down to state-sanctioned initiatives.

SONYMA highlights and eligibility requirements

These SONYMA programs are offered to New York state first-time home buyers and some repeat buyers.


  • Down payment assistance is offered.

  • Additional funds may be available for repairs and remodeling.

  • Single-family and multi-unit properties may be eligible, including condos and co-ops.


  • Must meet county limits on household income and purchase price.

  • Good credit and stable employment required.

  • Borrower cash contribution of 1%-3% of purchase price.

  • Attend a home buyer education course.

New York state first-time home buyer programs

Summary: 2021 SONYMA first-time home buyer programs

  • Achieving the Dream offers a low down payment and a discounted interest rate to lower-income borrowers.

  • The Conventional Plus Program offers cash assistance with relaxed loan qualifications.

  • The Low Interest Rate Program has favorable interest rates on loans for low- to moderate-income borrowers.

  • Down Payment Assistance Loans provide up to $15,000 in assistance.

  • The Homes for Veterans Program helps military borrowers buy a home, whether or not it's their first.

  • RemodelNY combines purchase and renovation loans.

  • The Energy Star Labeled Homes Program encourages energy-efficient upgrades.

  • The FHA Plus Program allows down payment assistance on an already low-down-payment FHA home loan.

  • The Graduate to Homeownership Program offers down payment assistance to recent college graduates buying in certain New York State communities.

  • The Neighborhood Revitalization Program provides cash and financing assistance to buy and renovate vacant homes.

Remember, the lender you work with may have additional borrower requirements than those stated in any SONYMA assistance program. They may include credit score minimums or other credit qualifications. So, dig into the programs you’re interested in, learn all you can, then talk to a few lenders about the possibilities.

For full details on any SONYMA program, visit the SONYMA website.

To find participating lenders, search the SONYMA lender list.

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