Oregon First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2020

NerdWalletJanuary 23, 2020
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Oregon First-time Home Buyer Programs of 2018

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Soaring Northwest prices can make purchasing a home in the Beaver State daunting for first-time home buyers. There’s help, though, whether you have your eye on a bungalow in Bend, a farmhouse in Fossil or a pied-a-terre in Portland’s Pearl District.

National programs make owning a first home more affordable. And Oregon Housing and Community Services’ below-market-rate mortgages and down payment and closing cost assistance programs offer still other avenues. You’re considered a first-time buyer if you have not owned a home in three years.

Here’s what to know about national and OHCS state programs and how to qualify.

National first-time home buyer programs

First-time home buyers in any state may use these national mortgage programs to make homeownership more affordable.

OHCS highlights and eligibility requirements

Oregon sells bonds through its Oregon Bond Residential Loan Program to help finance its Rate Advantage and Cash Advantage Home Loans, below-market-interest mortgages for eligible first-time home buyers.

The program offers below-market fixed interest rates to help first-time home buyers qualify for homes with affordable monthly payments. While details may vary by program and county, here are some general guidelines. A low-rate mortgage can be a conventional mortgage with 20% down or an FHA or USDA home loan.


  • Below-market interest rates for first-time borrowers.

  • Down payment assistance grants of up to $15,000.

  • 3% closing-cost assistance grant with a lower-rate mortgage.


  • Limits on borrower income and purchase price vary by county and target area.

  • First-time home buyer requirement waived for homes purchased in target areas.

  • Complete home buyer education before mortgage closing.

Compare OHCS lenders

OHCS first-time home buyer loan programs

Summary: 2020 OHCS first-time home buyer programs

  • Oregon RateAdvantage Home Loan for OHCS' lowest interest rates on a fixed-rate loan.

  • Oregon Cash Advantage Home Loan for below-market interest rates paired with closing cost assistance.

  • Oregon Down Payment Assistance for a grant of up to $15,000 to put towards your home purchase.

If one of these OHCS programs seems right for you, you can get started by contacting an approved lender to get details and apply. Lenders can identify target areas and help assess your eligibility.

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