No matter if you’re looking in the cosmopolitan New Orleans or along the coastal plains, Louisiana has lots to offer, from Cajun cuisine and jazz to growing aerospace, agribusiness and manufacturing industries. If you’re an aspiring homeowner, consider starting with the Louisiana Housing Corporation, the agency dedicated to ensuring residents, including first-time buyers, have access to affordable housing and mortgages.

Louisiana first-time homebuyer loan programs

LHC Mortgage Revenue Bond programs

Louisiana Housing Corporation’s (LHC) Mortgage Revenue Bond programs help first-time homebuyers — considered those who haven’t owned a home in the last three years — with financing and down payment and closing cost assistance. There are two programs:

  • Mortgage Revenue Bond Home: Includes 5 percent to 9 percent grant with no interest or repayment
  • Mortgage Revenue Bond Assisted: Includes 4 percent no-interest, no-payment second mortgage, forgivable after three years

For both programs, you must have a minimum credit score of 640. In addition, the home you’re buying must be in Louisiana, must be your primary residence and must not exceed $349,525 in price (other limits might apply depending on location). The home can be a single-family home, condominium, townhome, modular home or manufactured home (which can be a double-wide if you’re getting an FHA loan).

For the Mortgage Revenue Bond Home program, your income must be at or below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) to qualify. For the Assisted program, your income can be between 115 percent and 140 percent of the AMI, depending on loan type, household size and whether the home you’re buying is in a targeted area.

LHC Delta 100 Program

LHC’s Delta 100 Program is a parish-specific program that helps credit-challenged first-time homebuyers obtain complete financing with a 2 percent interest rate and no mortgage insurance, plus up to 3 percent in closing cost assistance.

There is no minimum credit score requirement to be eligible, but the program is only available for single-family home purchases in these Delta parishes:

  • Caldwell
  • Catahoula
  • Concordia
  • East Carroll
  • Franklin
  • Madison
  • Morehouse
  • Pointe Coupee
  • Richland
  • Tensas
  • West Carroll
  • Ouachita (excluding Monroe)

In addition, the home can’t be more than $242,000, and your income is limited to the 80 percent AMI threshold. You must also be able to contribute either 1 percent of the purchase price or $1,500, whichever is less, from your own funds in order to qualify. Applicants are also required to complete a homebuyer education program.

Louisiana down payment assistance

LHC Resilience Soft Second Program

LHC’s Resilience Soft Second Program was created to help prospective homebuyers bridge the gap between the purchase price of the home and what they can afford to pay. The program offers first-time homebuyers a total of $60,000: a second mortgage of 20 percent of the home’s purchase price up to $55,000, plus up to $5,000 in closing costs. If you use the home as your primary residence for 10 years, the soft second loan of 20 percent is fully forgivable.

Borrower requirements:

  • Must be a first-time homebuyer (or haven’t owned a home in the past three years); a single parent who’s only owned a home with a former spouse while married; or a displaced homemaker who’s only owned a home with a spouse
  • Must meet LHC income limits (be at or below 80 percent of AMI)

Property requirements:

New Orleans Direct Soft Second Mortgage Assistance Program

This down payment and closing costs subsidy program, offered by the New Orleans Office of Community Development, offers up to $55,000 for a down payment in the form of a second mortgage and another $5,000 in closing cost assistance to first-time homebuyers of a single-family home in the Orleans Parish. This no-interest, no-payment second mortgage is forgivable after 10 years if you remain in the home as your primary residence during that time.

Your income must fall within the 80 percent AMI guidelines to be eligible. You must also qualify for a first mortgage from an approved mortgage lender, and complete training with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.

Other Louisiana first-time homebuyer loan programs

While you’re considering your first-time homebuyer options in Louisiana, be sure to explore national programs that could also help advance your goal of homeownership.

FHA loans

Insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), an FHA loan is a mortgage designed for borrowers who may have low credit scores or don’t meet conventional loan qualification requirements. FHA loans can be used not only to buy a home but also to build one. While the government insures these loans, they are available through big banks and third-party lenders that are FHA approved.

VA loans

For those who are qualifying active-duty military members or veterans, VA mortgages are another important option. These mortgages are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and can be used to buy a primary residence. There are several benefits to using VA loans such as no down payment or private mortgage insurance requirements. In addition, the interest rates offered with these loans are typically more competitive than other loans. VA loans can be obtained through a mortgage lender, not the VA directly.

USDA loans

For prospective first-time homeowners in designated rural areas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers loans that do not require a down payment. Designed for low- to moderate-income borrowers who do not meet conventional loan requirements, these mortgages have income limits that vary by location. There are also upfront and annual fees associated with a USDA loan compared to a conventional loan.

Get started

Now that you know your options as a first-time homebuyer in Louisiana, you’re ready to embark on a purchase. As you get started on your home buying journey, visit the Louisiana Housing Corporation’s directory of mortgage lenders, to find lenders and learn more about what assistance you might be eligible for.

Regardless of which program you choose, it’s important to shop around for the best mortgage rates and compare loan offers to make sure you’re getting the best deal.