First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs for 2022 in California

Last Updated on August 7, 2022 by Danielle McDonald

Mortgage Assistance for Homebuyers in California

City of Oakland First Time Homebuyer Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP)

The Mortgage Assistance Program is available to first-time homebuyers with low- or moderate incomes in Oakland. Assistance funds are available to program applicants in order help with the purchase of a home.

Available Assistance

Eligible applicants can receive funds through the Mortgage Assistance Program to help with the down payment or pay closing costs. Additionally, this is in the form of a 30-year loan. However, the $250 application fee is waived for FHA/VA loans. Simple interest of 3% accrues each year and there is no monthly payment. The payment is due within 30 years, or when the borrower sells or transfers the property or refinances it or converts it to a rental property. The maximum loan amount is dependent on the transaction, but it cannot exceed the following amounts based upon household income:

  • Maximum 80% AMI: 30% of purchase price, not exceeding $75,000.
  • AMI between 80% and 120%: 20% of purchase price must not exceed $50,000

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the MAP program, applicants must be first-time buyers who have not purchased a home in the past three years. Their annual household income must not exceed 120% of Area Median Income. All household members must have incomes of at least 18 years. Oakland residents, Oakland workers/students and Oakland displacees must all be a part of the household. However, homebuyers have the requirement to contribute 3% of their income to cover the closing and down payments.

Property Requirements

All property purchased using funds from MOAP must be in Oakland and serve as the borrower’s primary residence. Single-family dwellings include condos, townhomes and manufactured properties. Properties with non-conforming or conforming in-law units, however, are not eligible. Therefore, all properties must pass a home inspection.

County of San Diego’s First-Time Homebuyer Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program

The County of San Diego’s First Time Homebuyer Program and Closing Cost Assistance Program is by the San Diego Housing Commission that aims to assist low- and moderate income first-time homebuyers.
This programme similar to the down payment First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs in Arkansas.

Available Assistance

A low-interest, deferred payment loan may be available to first-time homebuyers with low incomes. It can provide up to 17% down payment assistance, 4%, or as much as $10,000 for closing costs assistance. Then the payment is due upon the sale, refinance, and repayment of the loan. But the loan repayment will be made in one payment equal to the principal amount and accrued interest.

Eligibility Requirements

The program is only open to first-time homebuyers. Applicants who have lived in a home for more than three years will not be eligible. However, the household income of the borrowers must not exceed 80%. All applicants must contribute at least 3% to the purchase price.

Property Requirements

The home must be the borrower’s primary residence and must be in San Diego County, Coronado or Encinitas. Attached homes may not be purchased for more than $466,000, and detached homes for less than $574,000. The eligible property types are new or resale single family homes, condominiums and townhomes as well as manufactured homes built on a permanent foundation.

Los Angeles First-Time Home Mortgage Program

The First Home Mortgage Program allows applicants to receive up to 4% of the first mortgage amount for closing costs assistance and down payment. This grant is not subject to repayment.

Available Assistance

The First Home Mortgage Program allows applicants to receive up to 4% of the first mortgage amount for closing costs assistance and down payment. But, the good thing is, this grant does not have repayment terms and comes in the form a grant. The program is then managed by the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission and the Public Finance Division of Orange. You can therefore, use it in conjunction with the CDC’s Mortgage Credit Certificate Program and Home Ownership Program (HOP). However, the most restrictive program guidelines are applied. The SCHFA does not provide assistance funds to homebuyers and they must work with a participating lender.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for First Home Mortgage Program assistance, all applicants must meet certain criteria. The income requirements for the First Home Mortgage Program are as follows: applicants must have a minimum FICO credit score (640) and a debt to income ratio of not more than 45 percent. All applicants must complete a homebuyer education program. Certificates of completion must be dated twelve months before closing of escrow.

The program allows applicants to purchase new or existing properties within the limits of the following areas. All unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County, including the City of Los Angeles.

  • Home Prices in Non-Targeted Zones: $585 713
  • New Homes in Non-Targeted Areas: $585,713
  • Targeted Areas Homes Existing Homes $715,872
  • Targeted Areas: New Homes $715, 872

Income Limits

The income of a household is any income earned by members (18-years or older) of the household who live in the house, regardless of whether they have a mortgage.

Los Angeles County

  • 1 or 2 person household: $108,120
  • 3 or more person household: $126,140

Orange County

  • 1 or 2 person household: $125,160
  • 3 or more person household: $146,020

Fresno County’s First-Time Homebuyer Program

California’s Fresno County offers a 1st Time Homebuyer Program to assist low- and moderate income families in purchasing their first home.

Available Assistance 

Fresno County’s 1st Time Homebuyer Program provides a zero-interest, deferred repayment loan up to 20% of the purchase price and closing costs. The minimum amount is $1,000. The loan repayment can be deferred for up to 30 years, or until the primary mortgage is paid off if the latter occurs first. But the borrower may change their title or cease to be occupied with the loan balance.

Eligibility Requirements 

Fresno County’s 1st Time homebuyer program requires that all applicants are first-time homebuyers. This includes those who have never owned a house in the past three years. The income requirements for the program are listed below. Applicants must also complete a Home Training Course. However, the first mortgage is the responsibility of the borrower. They must also qualify for and secure a loan. These funds should also be documented, and may include a “gift” from a family member. Maximum debt to income (back-end) ratio is 43%. Therefore, all credit and collections accounts must be current at the close of escrow.

Property Guidelines 

Property purchased using program funds must be the borrower’s primary residence. It cannot be used as an investment property. Single-family residences and condominiums in unincorporated Fresno County, as well as the cities Fowler Kerman, Kingsburg Mendota Reedley and Selma are eligible property types. But, that means all homes must comply with current safety and health codes. An existing single-family home cannot have a lower appraised value than $279,000 or a higher purchase price.

Income Limits 

  • 1-person household: $39,150 
  • 2-person household: $44,750 
  • 3-person household: $50,350
  • 4-person household: $55,900 
  • 5-person household: $60,400 
  • 6-person household: $64,850 
  • 7-person household: $69,350 
  • 8-person household: $73,800 

San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) First-Time Homebuyer Program

San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC), First-Time Homebuyer Program, can help eligible buyers purchase single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums.

Available Assistance 

Low-income applicants could be eligible for a low-interest deferred-payment loan through the SDHC First-Time Homebuyer Program. For the down payment assistance, they may be eligible for up to 17% and for closing costs assistance up to $10,000. The borrower must repay this loan until they sell, refinance, pay off their first mortgage or move out of the primary residence. The principal amount of the loan plus accrued interest must be paid in one payment.

Eligibility Requirements 

All applicants must be first-time buyers who have never owned a house in the past three years. The annual household income of applicants must be at least 80% of the San Diego County median income. The applicants must also contribute at least 3 percent of the purchase price with their own funds.

Property Guidelines 

The borrower must live in the home that is purchased using funds from the SDHC First-Time Buyer Program. Attached homes must be less than $485,000, and detached homes must not exceed $622,250. The property type eligible for the program is single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and manufactured homes with a permanent foundation. The property must be in an unincorporated area of San Diego County or in the city of Carlsbad, Coronado, Del Mar, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Poway, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach, or Vista. 

Fremont First-Time Homebuyer Program BMP Homes

Fremont provides assistance to first-time homebuyers through its Below Market Price Homes program. This program helps residents purchase and afford their first-home.

Available Assistance 

Fremont offers income-eligible first-time homebuyers the opportunity to buy a home below market price (BMP), built under the Affordable Housing Ordinance. Private developers and builders can choose to set aside homes and offer them to low- or moderate-income households, or pay an in-lieu-fee. The city will post information from a developer if it plans to put a home aside and sell it below the market price.

City of Norwalk First Time Home Buyer Program

The City of Norwalk’s First Time Buyer Program offers low-income families the chance to purchase their first home.

Available Assistance 

The City can provide up to $85,000 for closing cost and down payment assistance. These funds will be made available to qualified applicants as zero-interest loans. Based on the sale price, household income and down payment amount, each borrower will receive a different amount.

Eligibility Requirements 

All applicants must be first-time buyers. This means that they have not owned a house in the three-year prior to purchase. The household of the applicant must be low-income. The annual household income must be below 80% of the area’s median income. The applicant must also have a debt to income ratio of no more than 40% and contribute at least 3% towards the down payment.

Property Guidelines 

A home bought with program funds must be the borrower’s primary residence. It cannot exceed 95% of an area median housing purchase price. Single-family homes, condominiums and manufactured homes are all eligible property types. Location should be on the land of the owner of the housing unit or on land they have a lease for at most the term of affordability. A qualified appraiser must appraise all homes that are purchased to ensure they fit the needs of the household.

Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program

The Moderate Income Purchase Assistance program helps moderate-income homebuyers buy homes for the first time. It provides loans to help with down payments, closing costs, and acquisition costs.

Available Assistance 

For down payment, closing costs and acquisition, we offer a loan up to $60,000 Homebuyers with incomes between 81-120% of the Area Median Income (AMI), and homebuyers with incomes between 121%-150% of AMI will have access to up to $60,000, as well as $35,000

Eligibility Requirements 

The Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program is only available to first-time homebuyers, who must not have owned any real estate in the past three years. They must be U.S. Citizens or lawful permanent residents or other qualified aliens, whose household income (the income limit shown below) is below the program’s income thresholds. Each applicant must attend an 8-hour in-person Homebuyer Education class by an approved provider. They also need to contribute at least 1% of the purchase price from their own money as a down payment. They must also occupy the new residence as their primary residence.

Income Limits 

Moderate income (81%-120% AMI) 

  • 1-person household: $65,251 – $99,300 
  • 2-person household: $75,701 – $113,450 
  • 3-person household: $85,151 – $127,900 
  • 4-person household: $94,601 – $141,850 
  • 5-person household: $102,201 – $153,200 
  • 6-person household: $109,751 – $164,550 
  • 7-person household: $117,351 – $175,900 
  • 8-person household: $124,901 – $187,250 

Brentwood Down Payment Assistance Program

Brentwood realized that not all potential homebuyers can afford the monthly mortgage payments because they don’t have enough money to cover the large upfront costs of a home loan. The City of Brentwood offers the Down Payment Assistance Program (DAP) to first-time homebuyers, so they can have funds for the down payment and/or closing cost.

Then, first-time homebuyers can use DAP funds to assist them with their down payment and/or closing expenses. The DAP funds have limits, so loans will only be for borrowers that qualify.

Available Assistance

DAP offers assistance funds in form of a deferred repayment loan program to income-eligible applicants who purchase their first home in Brentwood. The program have limits in funding, so applicants must apply first. However, a maximum loan amount of only $10,000 is allowed. Then, this loan can only be used in conjunction with fixed-rate conventional loans. Repayment can be deferred until:

  • The first mortgage term is completed.
  • If the borrower vacates property,
  • If the first mortgage is larger than the original home loan.

Borrowers must then repay the City’s loan and accrued interest. The interest rate will change over time and accrue interest until the loan is paid off. The ranges of interest rates are 7, 5 and 3 percent, and they increase and decrease with time as the borrower stays in their home.

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must be first-time buyers and have not purchased a California home within the past three years to be eligible for this program. The annual household income must also not exceed 120 percent of that of the area median income. There is also a requirement for applicants to contribute at minimum 3 percent from their own resources. All applicants must complete a course on first-time homebuyer and obtain a mortgage through one the City’s preferred lenders.

CalHFA MyHome Assistance Program

MyHome Assistance Program provides applicants with a junior loan that can be deferred up to 3% of either the purchase price or appraised value of the mortgaged property to help pay the down payment, or to cover closing costs.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify, you must combine MyHome with a California Housing Finance Agency mortgage.

  • First-time homebuyers
  • Living in the home as their primary residence
  • Successfully completed a homebuyer education counseling class
  • The income of homebuyers must be below certain MyHome limits depending on what type of mortgage they have
  • All applicants must meet the requirements of their lender or mortgage insurer

Property Guidelines

There are also some property requirements in addition to the borrower guidelines.

  • CalHFA’s county-specific sales price limits cannot be exceeded by the home.
  • A single-family, one unit residence must be included.
  • When combined with an FHA first mortgage, manufactured housing on a permanent foundation can be allowed
  • Condominiums need to meet the guidelines for the first mortgage
  • The maximum size of the property is five acres
  • Co-ops and leaseholds/Land Trusts are not allowed
  • The property must be in compliance with the requirements of the mortgage lender/guarantor.

Homebuyer Education

CalHFA strongly believes that homebuyer education can make a difference in homeowner happiness and success. Therefore, CalHFA requires homebuyer education from first-time homebuyers who use a CalHFA program. They also accept hard copies or online copies for homebuyer counseling certificates.

Emeryville First Time Homebuyer Loan Program

The City of Emeryville established the First Time Homebuyer Loan Program to provide down payment assistance for households with low incomes. So, this program helps individuals to avoid falling into the trap of renting by helping them to cover the upfront costs of buying a home.

Available Assistance

First Time Homebuyer Loan Program offers down payment assistance through a low-interest, deferred repayment loan. The interest rate is 75% of the first mortgage rate or 5%, whichever is lower. However, this payment is due upon the sale, transfer, or termination of the borrower’s primary residence. It can also be due in 30 years. Borrowers must also contribute at minimum 3% to the down payment.

Eligibility Requirements

The applicants must be first-time homebuyers. This means that anyone who has owned a home for more than three years is not eligible. Then, if the applicants meet certain conditions, there are exceptions to this rule.

  • Are you a single person or a parent who owned a house in the last three years together with a spouse?
  • Are there any employees of the City Emeryville?
  • Do employees work in the Emery Unified Schools District?
  • If a person previously owned a house together with a domestic partner in the last three years, but the domestic partnership was terminated,

Income Limits

All applicants must have a household income that is at least 120% of the area median as published annually by US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), unless one of their buyers is an employee of the City of Emeryville.

Property Guidelines

The applicant must use the home as their primary residence. Section 503(b), which sets out the maximum and minimum household sizes based on the number of bedrooms within a unit, will determine the occupant limits and purchasing unit.

Studio — 1 to 2 persons
  • 1 bedroom — 1 to 3 persons
  • 2 bedrooms — 2 to 5 persons
  • 3 bedrooms — 3 to 7 persons
  • 4 bedrooms — 4 to 9 persons

GSFA Platinum Program

California’s Golden State Finance Authority created the Platinum Program. This program provides California homebuyers of low-to-moderate-income with closing cost assistance and down payment assistance.

Available Assistance

The GSFA Platinum Program offers applicants a grant that is non-repayable up to 5% of the total loan amount. This is a gift, in the truest sense. It does not create a second mortgage and it doesn’t have to be repaid.

This program provides financial assistance to qualified applicants who are interested to purchase a home, but cannot afford the upfront costs. It includes the down payment and closing costs. These costs can be significant and people might find themselves stuck in a renters’ trap if they are unable to pay them.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for assistance under the GSFA Platinum Program, applicants must meet certain conditions. The applicant must live in the home that is being purchased through the program. This program is not intended to assist with investment properties, but homes. All applicants must meet the Program’s Income Limits and have a credit score at least 640. They also need to have a minimum debt-to-income ratio not less than 50 percent. There is no requirement that applicants be first-time homebuyers, unlike other down payment assistance programs.

Property Guidelines

Flexible: The program can be used to purchase new or existing homes as long as the applicant is living in the home.

Los Angeles County Affordable Homeownership Program

Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA), provides assistance for down payment to low- and medium-income households through the Affordable Homeownership program. Eligible homebuyers can afford their dream home and get assistance to help them.

Available Assistance 

LACDA provides financial assistance in the form of a secondary mortgage. All payments are deferred until the sale, transfer, refinance, or sale of the home. LACDA shares a portion of the equity that has been accumulated on the property depending on the circumstances.

Eligibility Requirements 

All applicants must be first-time buyers (those who haven’t owned a home for three years or more) and must meet the income requirements of the program. All borrowers must complete homeownership counseling from an accredited agency certified by HUD and the National Reinvestment Corporation. The property must be the borrower’s primary residence.

Income Limits 

Low (80% of area median income) 
  • 1-person household: $58,450 
  • 2-person household: $66,100 
  • 3-person household: $75,150 
  • 4-person household: $83,500 
  • 5-person household: $90,200 
  • 6-person household: $96,900 
  • 7-person household: $103,550 
  • 8-person household: $110,250 
Moderate (120% of area median income) 
  • 1-person household: $61,400
  • 2-person household: $70,150 
  • 3-person household: $78,950 
  • 4-person household: $87,700 
  • 5-person household: $94,700 
  • 6-person household: $101,750 
  • 7-person household: $108,750 
  • 8-person household: $115,750 

Monterey County Down Payment Assistance Program

Monterey County recognizes that not all potential homebuyers can afford monthly mortgage payments. They don’t have enough money to pay the required down payment. The County offers the First Time Homebuyers (FTHB), Down Payment Assistance Program to help people overcome this obstacle. The County provides assistance through HOME funds to assist people in purchasing homes in unincorporated areas of the County. This program is available to income-qualified households.

Available Assistance

The FTHB Program offers down payment assistance in the form of a loan. Its maximum amount may not exceed the maximum HOME subsidy limit, 20% of the purchase price or the amount required as determined by the underwriting criteria. Maximum loan amount cannot exceed the amount of the primary loan.

Eligibility Requirements

Borrowers must meet certain criteria to be eligible for the FTHB Program. The applicants must be Monterey County residents and first-time homebuyers. This means that borrowers who have not owned a Monterey County home for three years or more will not be eligible. FTHB down payment assistance is only available to individuals whose annual household income is less than 80 percent of the Monterey County area median income (limits below). All borrowers must also be able contribute at least 3.5% of the purchase price to the down payment.

Property Guidelines

A borrower cannot purchase a home that is not their primary residence. It must have three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage with two cars. The maximum price of the property cannot exceed $396,000 in all counties.

Income Limits

The income of a household is any income earned by members of the household (18 years old or older) who live in the house, regardless of whether they have a mortgage.

  • 1 person household: $46,800
  • 2 person household: $53,450
  • 3 person household: $60,150
  • 4 person household: $66,800
  • 5 person household: $72,150
  • 6 person household: $77,500
  • 7 person household: $82,850
  • 8 person household: $88,200

Orange County Housing and Development Mortgage Assistance Program

Orange County Housing and Development’s Mortgage Assistance Program provides mortgage assistance loans for low-income homebuyers (FTHB) through a silent, deferred-payment, down payment assistance loan.

Available Assistance 

Eligible applicants can receive assistance funds through the Mortgage Assistance Program in the form of a second mortgage. The simple interest, deferred repayment loan at 3% has a term of 30 years and a maximum loan amount $80,000. You can also use this money to pay the down payment.

Eligibility Requirements 

The Mortgage Assistance Program is only available to first-time homebuyers who are not homeowners of a previous home. Then, their annual income cannot exceed 80% of the Orange County median income (AMI). The total sales price must not exceed 85 percent of the Orange County median sale price for all homes. Borrowers must also occupy the property as their primary residence, and make a minimum of 1% down payment from their own money.

San Diego County Down Payment / CalHome Program

San Diego Home Consortium provides assistance in buying a home. This also includes the Homebuyer Down payment & Closing Cost Assistance program (DCCA) and the CalHome Program. CalHome also offers assistance funds to first-time homebuyers that they can use towards the large upfront costs of mortgage transactions.

Available Assistance

CalHome Program offers applicants up to 17% of the property’s total price as down payment assistance and up to 4 percent (upto $10,000) for closing costs assistance. The loan is a simple interest loan at 3 percent per annum, which accrues annually. However, this loan does not require monthly payments. It is deferred until the home has been refinanced (not including an FHA-Streamline Refinance), or the borrower’s primary residence is sold, paid off, and then it will be due. One payment of the principal loan amount and accrued interest will be required to repay the loan.

Eligibility Requirements

CalHome Program assistance is only for first-time homebuyers. Those who have owned a house or held the title to one for more than three years will not be eligible. The annual household income of all applicants must be at least 80 percent of the area median income as determined by HUD. They must also be able to contribute at least 3 percent of the purchase price using their cash assets. The occupancy ratio of the program requires that no more than two people live in a living space (bedrooms, living room, family area, den/study).

Homebuyer Education

To be eligible for the program, borrowers must also complete a HUD/CalHome-approved education course on homebuyer.

Property Requirements

The CalHome Program requires that any property purchased be the borrower’s primary residence. The home must also be within the CalHome jurisdictional limits, which includes unincorporated areas in the County of San Diego, Encinitas and Imperial Beach.

There are three types of property that are eligible: single-family detached homes, condos, townhouses, manufactured homes with a permanent foundation, and new or resale single family units. Therefore, the maximum price for applicants must not exceed $383,800 for new and existing properties and $517750 for attached townhomes, condominiums, or single-family residences (subject to periodic adjustments).

Santa Ana Down Payment Assistance Program

Santa Ana, California’s City recognizes that not all potential homebuyers can afford monthly mortgage payments, because they don’t have enough money to pay the down payment. Therefore, the City offers the Down Payment Assistance loan program to help first-time homebuyers overcome this obstacle.

Available Assistance

Santa Ana’s Down Payment Assistance Loan program allows eligible applicants to borrow up to $40,000 towards the down payment of their new home. Then, they can use the funds on a first-come basis and are available as a zero-interest loan. Therefore, these funds are for property purchases that will be occupied by the owner.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the program, there are some requirements and Santa Ana’s Down Payment Assistance Loan Program is only for first-time homebuyers. This means that no one who has lived in a home for more than three years can be eligible. They must also have a good credit history and have qualifications to get a first mortgage. The annual household income of an applicant must be at least 80 percent of the area median income as published by HUD each year (Limits below).

Homebuyer Education

The Homebuyer Counseling Program is a requirement for all applicants. Applicants must also be able and able to contribute at minimum 3 percent from their cash assets to the down payment.

Property Guidelines

Santa Ana is the only location that you buy a home or condo. Therefore, the maximum price for any home must not exceed $499,000

Income Limits

The income of a household is any income of members of the household (18 years old or older) who live in the house, regardless of whether they have a mortgage.

  • 1 person household: $54,600
  • 2 person household: $62,400
  • 3 person household: $70,200
  • 4 person household: $78,000
  • 5 person household: $84,250
  • 6 person household: $90,500
  • 7 person household: $96,750
  • 8 person household: $103,000

Are you interested in the First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs in Colorado?

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