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Wherever you want to purchase your first home in Oregon, there are programs available to assist you with making a down payment or that offer loans with favorable rates. At the state level, these are administered by the Oregon Housing and Community Services department. First-time homebuyers in Oregon (defined as those who haven’t owned a home within the past three years) can be eligible for these programs as long as they meet certain criteria.
Oregon first-time homebuyer loan programs
Oregon Bond Residential Loan
The Oregon Bond Residential Loan program offers a selection of low-rate mortgages — including conventional, FHA, VA and USDA loans — with two assistance options for first-time homebuyers:
- Cash Advantage
- Rate Advantage
The Cash Advantage option includes a below-market rate mortgage and 3 percent of the loan amount in cash to help lower your closing costs. (Note the 3 percent can’t go toward the required down payment on an FHA loan.) The Rate Advantage option also includes a below-market mortgage rate — even lower than the Cash Advantage rate — but no cash assistance.
The borrower and property requirements for either include:
- Must meet Oregon Bond Residential Loan income limits
- Must be a single-family home, condominium, unit in a planned unit development (PUD) or manufactured home
- Must be in Oregon
- Must meet Oregon Bond Residential Loan purchase price limits
The Oregon Bond Residential Loan is also available to repeat homebuyers if the buyer is purchasing in a specific target area.
Oregon down payment assistance
Oregon Housing and Community Services offers information on various down payment assistance programs from organizations throughout the state, including:
- ACCESS – First-time homebuyers in Jackson or Josephine counties could qualify for a grant for up to $1,000 for a down payment, or a similar grant up to $15,000 for veterans. The grants do not need to be repaid.
- African American Alliance for Homeownership (AAAH) – First-time homebuyers already in the AAAH program could be eligible for a savings match to help build their down payment.
- Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation/Mid-Columbia Housing Authority – First-time homebuyers in Hood River, Sherman or Wasco counties who are veterans can receive up to $15,000 (or up to $30,000 if a veteran) towards closing or down payment costs.
- Community Connection of Northeast Oregon – First-time homebuyers in Baker, Grant, Union or Wallowa counties who are also veterans could be eligible for a down payment assistance loan up to $15,000.
- Hacienda Community Development Corp. – Homebuyers can receive from $3,000 up to $60,000 in assistance, depending on the program.
- Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) – This organization connects Native American homebuyers in the Portland metro area with local assistance and specialized mortgages.
- NeighborWorks Umpqua – Veterans who are first-time homebuyers in Coos, Curry, Douglas, Klamath or Lake counties could be eligible for up to $15,000 in down payment assistance. The organization also provides Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) to help low-income prospective homebuyers in select areas to save towards a down payment and other home purchase expenses.
- Portland Housing Center – This local organization provides an array of down payment assistance programs, including deferred or tandem loans, grants and savings match opportunities.
Many of these down payment assistance programs have certain requirements, such as income limits, a homebuyer education requirement or a minimum buyer contribution. Here is a complete list of organizations offering down payment assistance in Oregon.
Other first-time homebuyer loan programs
In addition to state and local first-time homebuyer loan programs, buyers in Oregon can also explore universally-offered products such as FHA loans, VA loans (available to military members, veterans and spouses) and USDA loans (available in qualifying rural areas). These have less stringent criteria, including lower credit score and down payment requirements, and could have lower interest rates compared to a conventional loan. Take a look at Bankrate’s first-time homebuyer programs for more information.
Using the Oregon Housing and Community Services department as a resource, you can find out more details about the state’s first-time homebuyer loan and down payment assistance programs. The department’s website also has a list of approved mortgage lenders searchable by county. Make sure you ask questions regarding your eligibility and for help figuring out how much assistance you might qualify for.
In addition, it’s a good idea to shop around for mortgage rates and offers to ensure you receive the most competitive loan for your situation.