Thinking about buying your first home? It can be an exciting ⁠— and sometimes daunting⁠ — process, and where you buy can be as important as what you buy. New Hampshire is the fifth-smallest state by landmass, but it has lots to offer, including a booming economy, highly rated public schools and colleges, and natural amenities like access to the coast, mountains, lakes and more.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer looking for property in The Granite State, consider starting with the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, the state’s agency for affordable housing and down payment assistance programs.

New Hampshire first-time homebuyer loan programs

Many of New Hampshire’s loan programs include down payment and closing cost assistance as well.

New Hampshire Housing Home Flex Plus program

The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (also known as New Hampshire Housing) offers several mortgage programs, including Home Flex Plus, which comes with an FHA, VA or USDA loan and down payment and closing cost assistance.

The assistance is encompassed in a second mortgage that can be forgiven in full after five years, unless you sell your home, refinance the first mortgage or file for bankruptcy, in which case the loan must be repaid.

This program is open to either a first-time homebuyer or someone who has owned property previously.

Borrower requirements:

  • 620 minimum credit score (based on Fannie Mae loan guidelines)
  • Must complete homebuyer education course (online or in person)
  • Must meet New Hampshire Housing income limit of $169,900 (2023)

Property requirements:

  • Can be a one- to four-unit home (owner-occupied), townhome, condominium, modular home or certain manufactured homes (depending on loan program)
  • Must be in New Hampshire
  • Must be a primary residence

New Hampshire Housing Home Preferred Plus program

The Home Preferred Plus program through New Hampshire Housing pairs a conventional loan with forgivable down payment and closing cost assistance, for up to 97 percent financing. The program also includes discounted mortgage insurance if your income is below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI). This program is available to both first-time and repeat homebuyers.

Borrower requirements:

  • 620 minimum credit score
  • Maximum household income can be up to 80 percent of the AMI, as determined by Fannie Mae; if it exceeds this threshold, the maximum household income is $169,900
  • First-time buyers must complete a homebuyer education course

Property requirements:

  • Can be a one- to four-unit home (owner-occupied), townhome, condo, modular home or certain manufactured homes
  • Must be in New Hampshire
  • Must be a primary residence

New Hampshire Housing House First program

This is the agency’s mortgage revenue bond program, which gives buyers lower-than-current-market rates on conventional and government-insured or -guaranteed loans. There’s also an option to add up to $10,000 in down payment assistance.

To be eligible, you must be a first-time homebuyer (or not have owned a home in the past three years). Alternatively, you can qualify by purchasing a home in a targeted area or being a qualified veteran. You’ll also need to make the home your primary residence and meet income limits in the area where you’re buying.

New Hampshire Housing Purchase Rehab program

The New Hampshire Housing Purchase Rehab mortgage program allows first-time and repeat homebuyers to add up to $35,000 to their loan to help cover improvements. The funds can pay for cosmetic, energy efficiency or safety upgrades, but not structural repairs.

You must have an annual household income of no more than $169,900 and complete a special training course to qualify. Notably, this program can be combined with the Home Flex Plus down payment assistance.

New Hampshire down payment assistance

1st Generation Homebuyer (1stGenHomeNH)

New Hampshire Housing provides $10,000 in down payment assistance for first-generation homebuyers. The funds come in the form of a second mortgage, which is forgivable after five years – unless you sell, refinance or file for bankruptcy.

To qualify for this program, you (and your co-borrower, if applicable) must be a first-time buyer with parents who have never owned a home in your lifetime. If you have a non-borrowing spouse, they cannot own or have previously owned a home, either.

You must also meet the following criteria:

  • Buy a single-family primary residence in New Hampshire
  • Finance the purchase with one of New Hampshire Housing’s mortgage programs
  • Attend an in-person homebuyer education course

It’s important to note that this is currently a pilot program with limited funding, so do be sure to check on its current status.

Other New Hampshire homebuyer assistance programs

Homebuyer Tax Credit

In New Hampshire, first-time homebuyers can decrease their federal income taxes through a mortgage credit certificate (MCC), known as the Homebuyer Tax Credit. This annual credit equals up to $2,000 and can be used for the life of your mortgage, as long as the property remains your primary residence. It cannot be combined with the Home First mortgage program.

There are minimum household income and purchase price limits to qualify for an MCC, and these vary according to the county where your home is located and the size of your household. While the credit is geared toward first-time buyers, it might be waived for experienced homeowners if they’re purchasing in a special targeted area.

You must take a homebuyer education course and, once it’s completed, you have to reserve the credit through a New Hampshire Housing Approved Lender before purchasing the home.

Nashua First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program

If you plan to purchase a home in Nashua, you may qualify for a grant of up to $10,000 to put toward a down payment, closing costs, interest rate buy-down or the purchase price of the home.

To qualify for the program, you’ll need to be a first-time buyer or not have owned a house in the previous five years. (There are some exceptions for displaced homemakers and single parents.) Your household income must be 80 percent or less of your area’s AMI, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In terms of your property, it must be a single-family home, duplex, three-family home, condo or townhouse in Nashua. It also needs to be your primary residence. The purchase price cannot exceed 95 percent of the city’s median sales price, also determined by HUD.

The city’s website has an application for the program.

Portsmouth HomeTown Program

The city of Portsmouth offers this program in partnership with Citizens Bank. It gives first-time buyers a no-interest, 10-year second loan, which they can use for a down payment or closing costs.

To participate, you must:

  • Be a first-time homebuyer or not have owned a house in the last three years
  • Earn less than 120 percent of the area’s median family income, as determined by HUD
  • Be a resident of Portsmouth and have lived there for the past two years; have lived in Portsmouth in the past for at least 10 years and currently live within 30 miles of the city; or be a permanent, full-time city employee with plans to become a resident
  • Complete homebuyer training

To join the program, call Citizens Bank at (518) 229-8766 or the Portsmouth Community Development Department at (603) 610-7281.

Other New Hampshire first-time homebuyer loans

While you’re considering your options as a first-time homebuyer in New Hampshire, be sure to explore nationally available programs as well:

  • FHA loans: Insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), these mortgages have looser eligibility criteria than conventional loans. If your credit score is 580 or above, the minimum VA loan down payment is just 3.5 percent.
  • VA loans: You might qualify for one of these loans if you’re an active-duty military member, veteran or surviving spouse. Guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), these loans don’t have a down payment requirement. They usually have lower rates, too.
  • USDA loans: These mortgages, which are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), don’t have a down payment requirement, either. However, to be eligible, you have to buy a home in a designated rural area and meet income limits.
  • HomeReady and Home Possible loans: HomeReady and Home Possible are loan programs created by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They’re specifically for first-time homebuyers, requiring only 3 percent down and having more flexible income requirements.

Get started

Now that you know some of your options as a first-time homebuyer in New Hampshire, your next step might be to connect with a mortgage lender. While the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority doesn’t make loans or financing decisions, the agency provides a list of participating lenders, and the organization also services loans after closing.

Regardless of which program you choose, it’s important to first shop around for loan offers and compare mortgage rates and terms to get the best deal when buying a home in New Hampshire.