Home LoansMortgage
How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Arkansas First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Buying a home for the first time can be a challenging process. From the house hunting to the reams of paperwork to managing the down payment and closing costs, there is a lot to wade through.

Fortunately, first-time homebuyers in Arkansas have access to several state programs that provide mortgage and down payment assistance, among other services. If you meet the requirements, these programs can provide significant savings and make homeownership a reality sooner than you might expect.

In this guide, we will cover:

Arkansas first-time homebuyer programs

The Arkansas Development Finance Authority administers the state’s homebuyer programs. The agency receives a combination of federal funds, local investment funds and loan earnings, which it uses to offer several housing-related programs.

In January 2019, we researched the most current information on first-time homebuyer programs in Arkansas, which included reviewing program websites and guidelines from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority. Here’s what first-time homebuyers in Arkansas need to know.

Eligibility for Arkansas assistance

The main eligibility requirement for Arkansas housing assistance is Arkansas residence. Beyond that, your mortgage must be an FHA-insured loan, a VA loan, a rural development 502 loan through the USDA or a conventional HFA preferred 97% or 95% loan.

You also are required to purchase an eligible property type, which includes single-family homes (detached or a duplex), modular homes or condos. Manufactured homes are not eligible for assistance programs.

You can check current mortgage rates for the state of Arkansas here.

ADFA Move-Up loan program


  • Provides an affordable, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage
  • No mortgage prepayment penalty
  • Can be combined with other ADFA programs


  • Maximum home purchase price of $424,100
  • Debt-to-income ratio of 45% or less for FHA, VA and rural development loans
  • Debt-to-income ratio of 45% to 50% for conventional loans
  • <href=”https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/minimum-mortgage-requirements/”>Credit score requirements based on loan type:
    • FHA: 660
    • VA, rural development and HFA conventional loans: 640
  • Education class is required for conventional loans if borrower is a first-time homebuyer

How it works

Although the ADFA Move-Up loan program isn’t specifically a first-time homebuyer program, it could be a good fit if this is your first home purchase due to the relatively low credit score requirements and assistance with finding an affordable mortgage.

All ADFA programs require you to work with an approved lender who can guide you if you aren’t sure if you meet the eligibility requirements. You can locate a participating lender in your area by visiting the ADFA website.

ADFA down payment assistance


  • Provides $1,000 to $10,000 for your down payment and closing costs
  • Down payment assistance is repaid as a 10-year second mortgage, with the same interest rate as your qualifying Move-Up program mortgage


  • Can only be used with an ADFA Move-Up program loan

How it works

Like the ADFA’s other programs, it’s not limited to first-time homebuyers, but it could help make homeownership more achievable if this is your first time. To find out if you qualify for the down payment assistance and the Move-Up program, you’ll need to contact a participating lender in your area. You can find one by visiting the ADFA website.

Arkansas Dream Down Payment Initiative


  • Provides down payment assistance of up to 10% of the home purchase price, with a maximum of $10,000
  • The down payment assistance is a no-payment, forgivable loan


  • Can only be used with an ADFA Move-Up Program loan
  • Must attend a homebuyer education class
  • Must meet income requirements, which vary by county and by family size
    • Find your county’s income requirements by visiting their website and clicking on “income limits” in the “How to Qualify” section
  • Maximum home purchase price of $250,000
  • Must complete a home inspection

How it works

The ADDI doesn’t need to be paid back, so if you qualify for it, it’s a better deal than the down payment assistance program, which must be paid back (at a low interest rate). To find out if you qualify, visit this website and find a participating lender in your area. Let the lender know you’d like to apply for the ADDI.

ADFA mortgage credit certificate


  • Provides a federal tax credit of up to $2,000
  • Can be claimed for the life of the home loan as long as it’s your primary residence
  • Can be combined with all ADFA programs
  • The mortgage credit certificate (MCC) is free if you have an ADFA mortgage


  • Must be a first-time homebuyer, a veteran or veteran’s spouse, or you must purchase a home in a targeted county (an economically distressed area defined by the federal government): Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Clark, Cleburne, Columbia, Conway, Crawford, Crittenden, Cross, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lee, Lincoln, Madison, Mississippi, Monroe, Nevada, Ouachita, Perry, Phillips, Prairie, St. Francis, Scott, Searcy, White, Woodruff and Yell
  • Home purchase price must be $270,000 or less
  • You must use the home as your primary residence
  • You must meet the income limits, which vary by county and household size
    • Find the income limit for your area and family size by visiting the ADFA website and clicking on “maximum limits” in the “How to Qualify” section

How it works

The MCC is unique in that it doesn’t help you with upfront home financing costs. Instead, it helps lower your federal tax burden. To take the MCC, you will need to file with Form 1040 and submit Form 8396 (mortgage interest credit). Consult a tax professional if you need assistance.

The MCC allows you to claim up to 50% of the mortgage interest you paid during a given tax year, with a maximum of $2,000. For example, if you paid $3,000 in interest during a tax year, you could be eligible for a tax credit of $1,500, which is 50% of the interest you paid. For more information on the MCC, contact an ADFA-participating lender. You can find one by visiting their website.

Jonesboro homeownership assistance


  • Provides a grant to assist with closing or down payment costs


  • Must purchase a home within the Jonesboro city limits
  • Home can’t be in a flood zone
  • Home must meet HUD minimum standards
  • The household must meet income limits for the area based on family size:
    • For a family of four: $44,950
    • For a family of three: $40,500
    • For a family of two: $36,000
    • For a family of one: $31,500

How it works

The first step to qualifying for Jonesboro homeownership assistance is to apply for a mortgage. Once you’re approved, you can apply for the assistance program. To apply, visit the Jonesboro website and download the application. Carefully complete the application and include all the requested documentation, then submit it to the address indicated at the top of the form.

Pine Bluff homeownership assistance


  • Provides up to $2,000 for down payment assistance
  • Provides up to $3,000 for closing costs
  • Provides up to $10,000 in assistance for purchases in the Turtle Creek Subdivision


  • Must pay at least $500 toward your down payment
  • Property must be in Pine Bluff city limits
  • Must complete two inspections
  • The household must meet income limits for the area based on family size:
    • For a family of four: $36,500
    • For a family of three: $32,850
    • For a family of two: $29,200
    • For a family of one: $25,550

How it works

Pine Bluff offers a homebuyer assistance program to first-time and repeat homebuyers. They provide extra incentives for purchasing a home in their Turtle Creek Subdivision, but the program can be used for other homes, too. Pine Bluff recommends starting the process by making an appointment with the Department of Economic and Community Development. You can find their contact information at the bottom of their website.

National first-time homebuyer programs

In addition to Arkansas’ homebuying assistance programs, there are also several national programs designed to help first-time homebuyers. These include VA loans, FHA loans and USDA loans, which typically target those buying homes in rural areas. For more information on national first-time homebuying programs, check out our guide.


Featured Articles

2021 FHA Loan Limits in Oklahoma

The federal government has set the maximum amount an Oklahoma homebuyer can borrow with an FHA loan at $356,362 for a single-family home for counties across the state in 2020. …

Read More »

2021 FHA Loan Limits in Illinois

The federal government has set the maximum amount an Illinoisan homebuyer can borrow with an FHA loan between $356,362 and $379,500 for a single-family home, depending on which county the …

Read More »

2021 FHA Loan Limits in Hawaii

In 2021, the FHA loan limits for single-family homes in Hawaii range between $408,250 and $723,350. The lower end of that range can be found in the more rural Hawaii …

Read More »

How to Find and Buy FHA-Approved Condos

Buying an FHA-approved condo is easier today thanks to recent changes made by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Borrowers can take advantage of flexible FHA qualifying guidelines to purchase a …

Read More »

2021 FHA Loan Limits in Washington

The FHA loan limit in Washington has increased up to $356,362 and $776,250 for a single-family home, depending on the county. The lower number applies to less expensive rural areas, …

Read More »


Today's Mortgage Rates

  • 2.65%
  • 2.13%
  • 2.67%
Calculate Payment
Advertising Disclosures Terms & Conditions apply. NMLS#1136