South Carolina Mortgage and Refinance Rates
As of Friday, July 30, 2021, current rates in South Carolina are 3.00% for a 30-year fixed, and 2.30% for a 15-year fixed.
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South Carolina mortgage overview
By Dhara Singh
Home prices in South Carolina have trended upward for most of the past decade, as buyers move to The Palmetto State for its iconic seashores, historic cities and relatively affordable cost of living. As of May 2020, the median home price in South Carolina is $233,500, up 4.7 percent from the year before.
First-time homebuyer programs in South Carolina
The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SC Housing) has a variety of programs to help low- and moderate-income homebuyers.
SC Housing Homeownership Program
The SC Housing Homeownership Program helps buyers get competitive fixed-rate 30-year mortgages, including conventional, FHA, USDA and VA loans. In general, there is a 1 percent origination fee for each loan.
- Conventional loans require a 3 percent down payment, a minimum 640 credit score and a maximum 97 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV). With a conventional loan, less mortgage insurance is required.
- FHA loans require a 3.5 percent down payment, a minimum 620 credit score and a maximum 96.5 percent LTV.
- USDA loans generally have no down payment requirement, but require a minimum credit score of 640.
- VA loans also generally have no down payment requirement, but require a credit score of 640.
To be eligible, you must be a first-time homebuyer or have not owned a home in the past three years, and purchasing a home in:
- Aiken County
- Anderson County
- Charleston County
- Greenwood County
- Greenville County
- Lancaster County
- Lexington County
- Oconee County
- Pickens County
- Richland County
- Spartanburg County
- York County
You may also be eligible if you’re a repeat buyer purchasing in one of 34 targeted counties.
SC Housing Forgivable Down Payment Assistance
Available to all borrowers who qualify, and for new or pre-owned property, the SC Housing Forgivable Down Payment Assistance program provides $6,000 that can be used for a down payment or closing costs. You must meet home purchase price requirements and household income limits, as well as all SC Housing mortgage eligibility requirements.
The assistance is in the form of a second mortgage with either a 10-year or 20-year term, depending on household income. There is no interest or monthly payments, and if you live in the home for the whole 10- or 20-year term, the loan will be fully forgiven.
SC Mortgage Tax Credit Program
With a mortgage credit certificate (MCC), homebuyers in South Carolina can apply for a federal income tax credit of up to $2,000 per year to offset the mortgage interest on their primary home. You can get the tax credit every year as long as you live in the home.
To get the credit, you’ll need to obtain an MCC from a lender that participates in the program. While the cost for the certificate can be up to $800, it can often be paid by the seller.
Palmetto Heroes Program
The SC Housing Palmetto Heroes Program offers a 30-year mortgage with a fixed interest rate of 3.5 percent and up to $10,000 in forgivable down payment assistance. Funds for the program are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. You’ll need a sales contract in place to reserve the funds.
In 2020, SC Housing expanded the qualifying occupations included in the program to include essential workers, along with teachers, emergency workers and others who serve the public good. Eligible professions include:
- Emergency medical services personnel
- Licensed medical professionals
- Grocery store employees
- Package delivery drivers
- Law enforcement and correctional officers
- SC National Guard
South Carolina mortgage refinancing
SC Housing does not currently offer a mortgage refinancing program; however, homeowners who are facing difficulty making mortgage payments are encouraged to seek help from the agency to explore options. You can reach the SC Housing loss mitigation department by calling 800-476-0412.