If you’re a North Dakota resident or looking to become one, and a first-time homebuyer — state authorities can help. The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) assists aspiring homeowners with obtaining an affordable mortgage and down payment and closing cost funds.

North Dakota first-time homebuyer loan programs

NDHFA FirstHome program

The NDHFA’s FirstHome program offers competitive conventional, FHA, VA and USDA financing to first-time homebuyers.

You could be eligible if you meet certain requirements, including purchase price limits based on the type of property you’re buying. These limits range from $349,525 for a single-family home (either new-construction or preowned) to $672,290 for a four-unit property.

Your income also can’t exceed the program’s income limits, which are based on county and household size. For example, if you’re a one- or two-person household and buying a home in Cass County — site of Fargo, the state’s biggest city — the current income limit is $105,500. If your household has three or more members, the cap is $115,575.

There are other requirements, too: You have to put at least $500 towards the purchase, and the home you’re buying has to be used as your primary residence. These criteria apply to all of NDHFA’s loan programs, by the way.

Keep in mind you might need a minimum credit score to qualify for any NDHFA loan. An NDHFA participating mortgage lender can offer guidance.

NDHFA HomeAccess program

NDHFA’s HomeAccess program isn’t solely for first-time homebuyers, but like the FirstHome program, it comes with low rates and down payment assistance. However, this program is geared toward specific groups:

  • A single parent with at least one dependent child who lives with the parent at least 50 percent of the time
  • An honorably discharged veteran (either the borrower or the borrower’s spouse)
  • A borrower either living with a permanent disability, or who has a dependent or spouse living with a permanent disability who also lives with the borrower
  • A borrower aged 65 years or older, or who has a dependent or spouse aged 65 years or older who also lives with the borrower

To be eligible, you must also meet income and purchase price limits, which are the same as the FirstHome program.

NDHFA North Dakota Roots

NDHFA’s North Dakota Roots loan program can be an option for first-time homebuyers whose incomes exceed the FirstHome program’s limits. Originally geared to people relocating to the Peace Garden state, it offers  either a below-market interest rate loan or a market-rate loan that includes down payment and closing costs assistance.  Roots sets no purchase price limits of its own, but its loans are subject to the Federal Housing Finance Agency conforming loan limits that most conventional mortgages adhere to.

NDHFA Targeted Area Loan

If you’re interested in buying a home in the following counties, you could also qualify for a low-interest rate Targeted Area Loan through NDHFA:

  • Benson County
  • McKenzie County
  • Rolette County
  • Sioux County

You don’t need to be a first-time homebuyer to take advantage of this loan, though you’ll need to meet income and purchase price limits. These limits are higher than the limits for the FirstHome and HomeAccess programs, and the home purchase price can be as high as $427,198.

North Dakota down payment assistance

NDHFA offers two main down payment assistance programs, both of which can be paired with an NDHFA loan. Note that if you’re buying a three- or four-unit property, you won’t be eligible for this assistance.

  1. NDHFA Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance (DCA) – To be eligible for NDHFA’s Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance (DCA), you must meet the program’s income limits and complete a homebuyer education course before closing. In addition, you can only be buying a single-family or two-unit home (duplex). If you’re buying a duplex, you must occupy one of the units as your primary residence.
  2. NDHFA Start – NDHFA’s Start program also offers down payment and closing cost assistance. Like the DCA program, you must be buying either a single-family home or duplex that you intend to occupy.

Other first-time homebuyer loan programs

Along with North Dakota state programs, there are additional first-time homebuyer loan programs worth considering.

For example, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the two government-sponsored enterprises responsible for the majority of the mortgage market — back conventional loans with as low as 3 percent down. There are also government-insured loan programs, including FHA loans, which are popular since they don’t require a huge down payment. For more on these programs and others, head over to Bankrate’s guide to first-time homebuyer loans.

Get started

You can get the most up-to-date information on North Dakota’s first-time homebuyer programs through the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s website. There, you’ll find a list of mortgage lenders who can help you determine what you might qualify for. Take the time to compare mortgage rates from several lenders before committing to an offer.