Trying to buy your first home in Utah can feel a bit like staring up at the top of the peaks of the Uinta Mountains. With median home prices in the state sitting at $538,000, according to Redfin data, how in the world are you supposed to get there? The answer may start with a number of first-time buyer programs that are designed to help you buy a home, including those offered by Utah Housing Corporation, the state’s housing authority.

Utah first-time homebuyer programs

First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program

Utah Housing Corporation’s primary program is designed for newly built, but not yet inhabited, properties. The organization offers up to $20,000 to help cover a down payment, closing costs and/or an interest rate buydown for anyone who hasn’t owned a property in the past three years. The money is a zero percent deferred loan that you must repay when you sell the home or refinance the mortgage. While the organization doesn’t list specific credit qualifying terms, you will need to meet these conditions:

  • Property must be less than $450,000
  • You must have lived in Utah for at least 12 months before closing

To learn more and apply, call the Utah Housing Corporation at 801-902-8200.

Utah Housing FirstHome and Home Again loans

The Utah Housing FirstHome Loan is designed for first-time buyers with modest incomes and eligible single parents or veterans. This loan tends to boast the lowest interest rate among the agency’s programs in order to keep monthly mortgage payments low.

Utah Housing’s Home Again Loan is available to families with modest incomes who don’t qualify for FirstHome loans. This loan is available to both repeat homebuyers and first-time buyers.

Neither the FirstHome Loan nor the Home Again Loan require borrowers to take part in homebuyer education courses.

Borrower requirements:

Property requirements:

  • Must be an owner-occupied single-family home, manufactured home or FHA-approved condominium or planned unit development (PUD); can be an owner-occupied duplex for Home Again Loan
  • Must be one acre or less (or five acres or less if in a rural area) for FirstHome Loan; no acreage limits for Home Again Loan
  • Must meet Utah Housing purchase price limits for FirstHome Loan; no purchase price limits for Home Again Loan

To learn more, contact one of the program’s participating lenders.

Utah down payment assistance

Utah Housing Down Payment Assistance

First-time homebuyers can combine a Utah Housing down payment assistance second mortgage with one of the agency’s first mortgage programs. The second mortgage is a 30-year, fixed-rate loan with an interest rate 1 percent higher than the rate of the first mortgage. Borrowers can qualify for an amount up to 6 percent of the purchase price.

Other Utah homebuyer assistance programs

Utah Housing Corporation also offers grants specifically to help two types of borrowers purchase homes: veterans and law enforcement officers.

Utah First-Time Homebuyer Law Enforcement Grant

Law enforcement officers and correctional facility workers who either live in Utah or want to relocate to the state can qualify for a grant of up to 3.5 percent of the purchase price, or a maximum of $25,000. Terms include:

  • You must be employed for five years with a jurisdiction in the state after receiving the money.
  • A portion of the grant will be forgiven each year.
  • You may use the funds for a down payment, closing costs, rate buydown or advance-purchased mortgage insurance.
  • You must move in within 30 days of closing.

Utah First-Time Homebuyer Veteran Grant

If you are currently serving in the military or have been discharged from service in the past five years, you may be eligible for a $2,500 grant. The grant does not require repayment. You must be a first-time homebuyer and a member of the military or veteran looking to buy a home in Utah to apply. Contact the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs to verify your eligibility at 801-326-2372.

Other Utah first-time homebuyer loans

Be sure to browse nationally available lending options that can make the first time buying a home a lot easier as well, including:

  • FHA loans: Applicants with a credit score of at least 580 can qualify for FHA loans, which include the ability to put just 3.5 percent of the purchase price down.
  • VA loans: If you’re a qualifying service member, veteran or eligible spouse, VA loans come with a few huge benefits: no mortgage insurance, no down payment requirement and some of the most competitive interest rates available.
  • USDA loans: If you’re buying in a qualifying rural area (check here to see if your property fits the bill), a USDA loan could be right for you. There is no down payment requirement.

Get started

Now that you have a better idea of the mortgage and down payment assistance options available for first-time homebuyers in Utah, it’s time to make your next move. An approved Utah Housing Corporation mortgage lender can help you find a loan that suits your needs and get the application process started. Terms and interest rates vary from lender to lender, so make sure to compare loan options to find the best loan for you.

And before you submit an application to get preapproved, do some more research to familiarize yourself with all the steps involved in buying a home in Utah.