No matter if you’re looking in the cosmopolitan Big Easy or along the coastal plains, Louisiana has lots to offer, from Cajun cuisine and jazz to growing industries including aerospace, agribusiness and manufacturing. If you’re a first-time homebuyer in the state, 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 and complete a homebuyer education course. 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 Market Rate Conventional Program

LHC’s Market Rate Conventional Program is available to both first-time and repeat homebuyers within the 80 percent AMI limits, and includes a competitive 30-year fixed rate and reduced mortgage insurance. The loan can be paired with up to 4 percent down payment assistance, as well.

If you’re a first-time buyer, you’ll need to complete a homebuyer education course to qualify. For all buyers, the minimum credit score requirement is 640 and the loan limit is $453,100. The loan can only be used for the purchase of a single-family primary residence.

LHC Market Rate GNMA Program

LHC’s Market Rate GNMA Program is also for first-time and repeat homebuyers, and offers a competitive 30-year fixed-rate FHA, VA or USDA loan along with as much as 4 percent in down payment assistance. Your income can be up to 115 percent of the AMI with this program, but the credit score minimum is also 640 (although that can vary according to loan product).

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 down payment and closing cost assistance.

There is no minimum credit score requirement to be eligible, but the program is only available for single-family home purchases, and the home must be in one of these 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.

Louisiana down payment assistance

LHC Resilience Soft Second Program

LHC’s Resilience Soft Second Program was created for the 51 parishes in Louisiana impacted by the 2016 floods. 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
  • 640 minimum credit score
  • Maximum 48 percent debt-to-income (DTI) ratio
  • Must complete homebuyer education course
  • Must meet LHC income limits (be at or below 80 percent of AMI)

Property requirements:

  • Must be a single-family home, condo or townhome
  • Must be in one of 51 participating parishes in Louisiana
  • Must not be in a flood zone
  • Must be a primary residence
  • Must not exceed $314,827

New Orleans Direct Soft Second Mortgage Assistance Program

This down payment assistance 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 a 12-hour training with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.

Other 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. Check out Bankrate’s guide to first-time homebuyer loans and programs to see what might be available to you.

Get started

Now that you know your options as a first-time homebuyer in Louisiana, you’re ready to embark on a purchase. While the Louisiana Housing Corporation doesn’t make loans or financing decisions, the agency provides a directory of mortgage lenders to help you initiate the process and learn 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.