Although they’ve risen 10 percent in the last year, home prices are relatively reasonable in South Dakota: the average home is valued at $275,877, according to online realty firm Zillow.  Still, if you’re a  first-time homebuyer in the state, you might need help. One of the best places to turn is the South Dakota Housing Development Authority, which has been helping to make homeownership more affordable since 1973 with programs that work in conjunction with conventional, FHA, VA and USDA loans.

South Dakota first-time homebuyer loan programs

SDHDA First-Time Homebuyer Program

The South Dakota Housing Development Authority’s (SDHDA) first-time homebuyer program is called, fittingly, the First-Time Homebuyer Program. However, this doesn’t have to actually be your first time purchasing a property — you simply can’t have owned a home in the last three years.

If that description fits you, you’ll need to satisfy a few other conditions to qualify for a loan with a competitive interest rate:

  • Minimum credit score of 620
  • A gross household income under a certain limit, which varies based on the size of your household and where you want to live
  • Complete a homebuyer education course online or in-person

There are a few conditions that the property you’re buying or building will need to satisfy, too:

South Dakota down payment assistance

SDHDA Fixed Rate Plus

If you’re concerned about coming up with the initial money to put down for your first home, the SDHDA offers a second loan worth up to 5 percent of your first mortgage. The Fixed Rate Plus assistance is a zero-percent 30-year loan, so you won’t pay any additional interest or fees. The amount is due after 30 years or whenever you pay off your first mortgage, whichever arrives sooner.

Other South Dakota homebuyer assistance programs

SDHDA Tax Credit

In addition to the absence of a statewide personal income tax for South Dakota residents, the state has another potential tax perk for first-time homebuyers: a mortgage credit certificate (MCC). With an MCC, a portion of your mortgage interest can be used as a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, which lowers your overall tax bill and keeps extra money in your bank account.

If the home you’re buying in South Dakota costs less than $340,000 or $413,000 in a target area, here’s a rundown of the tax credit you could be eligible for, based on the amount of your mortgage.

  • $120,000 or less: A tax credit of 50 percent of your mortgage interest
  • $120,001 to $150,000: A tax credit of 40 percent of your mortgage interest
  • More than $150,000: A tax credit of 30 percent of your mortgage interest

Overall, the credits can total up to $2,000 per year.

Qualifying for this tax credit does come with costs. The MCC program comes with a standard fee of $750, but if you’re taking advantage of the SDHDA’s First-Time Homebuyer Program, you’re in luck: Your fee will only be $250. Be sure to ask your mortgage lender if they charge an additional $250 fee, too.

Regardless of how much you pay upfront, though, this credit can create meaningful savings over a 30-year period.

Local homebuyer assistance programs

In addition to assistance from SDHDA, there are other ways to make buying a home in South Dakota easier.

The nonprofit GROW South Dakota, for example, has a down payment assistance program that can help qualified buyers receive loans between $5,000 and $10,500 for their upfront costs.

If you’re within income and purchase price limits, you might be eligible for a $5,000 loan from the nonprofit Homes Are Possible, Inc. to help with your down payment. The loan does not have interest, but it will need to be repaid when you sell your home or do a cash-out refinance.

Get started

Ready to start your homebuying journey in South Dakota? First, use the state housing finance authority’s first-time homebuyer calculator, which can help you determine your eligibility. Then, you can connect with one of the agency’s many participating banks, credit unions or mortgage lenders to get the loan process started. Remember that interest rates and terms will not be the same across all institutions, so be sure to compare multiple options to find the best offer that fits your needs.