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Oregon First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2018

July 30, 2018
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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.

Conventional mortgage

National program

Best for

Low down payment

Limited mortgage insurance premiums

What you need to know

First-time home buyers can get a conventional home loan with as little as 3% down if the mortgage meets requirements set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And if you put at least 20% down, you won’t have to pay mortgage insurance. Most lenders require a minimum credit score of 620 to qualify for a

 

FHA loans

National program

Best for

Low credit score

Low down payment

What you need to know

This is the go-to program for many first-time home buyers with lower credit scores. The Federal Housing Administration allows down payments as low as 3.5% for those with credit scores of 580 or higher. The FHA will insure loans for borrowers with scores as low as 500 but requires a 10% down payment

 

VA loans

National program

Best for

Military

Low down payment

What you need to know

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helps service members, veterans and surviving spouses buy homes. VA loans are especially generous, providing competitive interest rates, often requiring no down payment or mortgage insurance. Although there is no official minimum credit score, most

 

USDA loans

National program

Best for

Low down payment

Rural

What you need to know

A USDA home loan is a zero-down-payment mortgage for eligible rural and suburban home buyers. USDA loans are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Program. There are income limitations, which vary by region. Applicants with credit

OHCS first-time home buyer programs

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. Low-rate mortgages can be a conventional mortgage with 20% down or an FHA or USDA home loan.

OHCS highlights and eligibility requirements

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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.

ELIGIBILITY

  • 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.

Oregon RateAdvantage Home Loan

State program

Learn more

at OCHS

Best for

Low mortgage rates

What you need to know

OHCS’ lowest fixed interest rates are offered with the Rate Advantage mortgage. Borrowers may use a FHA or USDA loan, or a conventional mortgage with a 20% down payment.

 

Oregon Cash Advantage Home Loan

State program

Learn more

at OHCS

Best for

Closing cost assistance

What you need to know

Cash Advantage Home Loans with a below-market interest rate are available to eligible first-time home buyers. Cash assistance equal to 3% of the mortgage amount can be applied toward closing costs. Limits on income and purchase price vary by county. This assistance is in the form of a grant,

 

Oregon Down Payment Assistance

State program

Learn more

at OHCS

Best for

Down payment assistance

What you need to know

Down payment assistance grants of up to $15,000 are available from qualified local organizations. Grant amounts and requirements vary by provider. Applicants must complete homeownership education and follow-up counseling. Income limits apply. The funds may be used with any type of mortgage.

» MORE:  Tips for first-time home buyers

Your next step

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.

» MORE: Best Oregon mortgage lenders of 2018

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