South Carolina First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2021

NerdWalletJanuary 1, 2021
South Carolina First-Time Homebuyer Programs of 2018
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Since its rollout in 1979, the SC Housing Homeownership Program has helped more than 42,000 residents of South Carolina buy homes. Officially known as the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority, SC Housing works with lenders, home builders and government officials to assist first-time home buyers in the Palmetto State.

Finding a home in South Carolina is the fun part — getting a mortgage, not so much. But SC Housing offers low-income and low- to moderate-income residents down payment and closing cost assistance to help make homeownership happen.

National first-time home buyer programs

While not specially targeted to South Carolina residents, these national programs help first-timers across the U.S. make the leap into homeownership.

SC Housing highlights and eligibility requirements

SC Housing enables 30-year, fixed-rate FHA, USDA, or conventional loans with down payment assistance up to $6,000. Local lenders make the mortgages, according to SC Housing guidelines. Loan costs include a 1% origination fee.

Each loan program has its own list of details, but here is an overview of some common characteristics.


  • Fixed-interest-rate 30-year loans.

  • Down payment and closing cost assistance.

  • Some programs offer reduced mortgage insurance premiums.


  • Completion of a home buyer education course will be necessary to get down payment assistance.

  • A minimum credit score of 620 to 640 may be required, depending on the program — though your qualifying credit score does not assure loan approval.

  • Borrowers are typically first-time home buyers or haven’t owned a home in the past three years, except in targeted counties.

SC Housing first-time home buyer programs

Summary: 2021 SC Housing first-time home buyer programs

  • SC Housing home loans are combined with assistance programs and include conventional, FHA and USDA mortgages.

  • Repayable down payment assistance is available up to $6,000 as a 10-year, 2%-interest-rate second mortgage.

  • Forgivable down payment assistance up to $6,000 is offered to borrowers earning less than 80% of the local median income.

  • The SC Mortgage Tax Credit program offers a $2,000 tax credit against the mortgage interest you pay annually.

Although these programs are administered by SC Housing, locally authorized lenders do the paperwork and have varying qualifying guidelines. Shop around and compare offers from lenders to get the best terms for your particular circumstance.

For details on available loan and assistance programs, visit the SC Housing website.

To get started, consult the list of lenders who participate in SC Housing programs.

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