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2022 Connecticut First-Time Homebuyer Programs

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New homebuyers in Connecticut can take advantage of a variety of state assistance options, including programs from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) and the Housing Development Fund (HDF), which is a mortgage counseling and lending agency certified by the U.S. Department of Urban Development. A little assistance could make the costs associated with purchasing your dream home manageable, but you may have to meet certain requirements.

Connecticut statewide and local first-time homebuyer programs

First-time homebuyers could qualify for a statewide, low-cost mortgage or down payment assistance (DPA) program in Connecticut. Individual and family income restrictions are common for these programs. Below is a snapshot of how much assistance you may qualify for.

Program nameAssistance amountAssistance typeWhere it’s available
CHFA Down Payment Assistance Program3% to 3.5% of the purchase price, up to $20,000Non-forgivable low interest second mortgageStatewide
CHFA loan programsLow insurance costs and low interest rateBelow market interest rate first mortgageStatewide for first-time homebuyers, in target areas for repeat homebuyers
SmartMoveUp to 20% of the purchase priceNon-forgivable low-interest second mortgageStatewide
Live Where You Work0% interest loan for up to $20,000Non-forgivable 0% second mortgageStatewide

What to know about different types of down payment assistance

Although the assistance programs for first-time homebuyers listed above essentially offer free loans — with little interest or fees — the house serves as collateral and you must still repay the loans.

  • Second mortgage. A second mortgage allows you to finance home-buying costs that you’d otherwise need to pay in cash, up front. A second lien is recorded against your home. In most cases, no fees or no interest are charged.
  • Low-cost mortgage. A low-cost mortgage may have little to no fees and/or little to no interest rate and/or low insurance premiums and/or require a small down payment.

How Connecticut first-time homebuyer programs work

LendingTree researched the most up-to-date guidelines from program websites to compile the requirements in the next section. Yet, more specialized or local homebuyer programs may be available throughout the year. Check in with the nonprofit organizations and housing authorities to see what’s available in the area in which you want to buy.

Here are the common steps you’ll likely take in the process of qualifying for a homebuyer program:

  1. Choose a program. Determine which Connecticut first-time homebuyer program is right for you based on your needs and their requirements. A word of warning: Requirements for these types of programs may be more strict than regular mortgage programs, so check with a program representative if you have any questions, fair credit or a lot of debt.
  2. Complete homebuyer education or counseling. You will likely have to complete a HUD-approved homebuyer education course or counseling session before you apply.
  3. Get a mortgage preapproval. If the program you choose isn’t a low-cost mortgage itself, you’ll still need a primary lender. Some programs will work with you on an application and others simply provide a list of approved lenders. You can read all about mortgage preapprovals here.
  4. Pick a house. This is the fun part. Make sure the house is affordable to you and falls within any program price limits. The CHFA provides an interactive map to help.
  5. Do the paperwork.  Now that you picked a home, you’ll need to formally submit the application, get a home inspection and appraisal, and, finally, sign on the dotted line.

Connecticut first-time homebuyer program requirements

Before you take a class or start filling out paperwork, you should know which first-time homebuyer program you want and their basic qualifications, such as credit score minimums and income maximums. Here’s a table to help you determine which one(s) may be the best fit for you:

Program name Credit score minimumDTI ratio maximumMaximum income limitHow long you have to live in home
CHFA DPA ProgramNot specifiedVariesNot specifiedNA
CHFA loan programsNot specifiedVariesLess than 80% of the area median income (AMI)NA
SmartMoveNot specifiedVaries100% of the medium family income, from $91,600 to $121,000NA
Live Where You WorkNot specifiedVaries80% of the area median income limitsNA

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

The local median income limits have a lot to do with your eligibility for first-time homebuyer assistance programs. Programs will often state that you cannot make more than the area’s median income in order to qualify. You can look up the most up-to-date data on Connecticut’s medium income limits on the HUD’s lookup tool.

National first-time homebuyer programs

There are several types of national mortgage programs that are backed by the federal government and offer great benefits such as low interest rates and/or low minimum qualification requirements.

  • Conventional loans. First, for comparison’s sake, private lenders offer conventional mortgages, which aren’t backed by any government agency. They have higher requirements but typically cost less over the life of the loan.
  • FHA loans. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers lower requirements. Specifically, it has a lower credit score minimum and allows for a higher debt-to-income ratio. The biggest downside is that FHA loans require two types of FHA mortgage insurance policies, which mean you’ll have two pay two insurance premiums.
  • VA loans. If you or a family member has ties to the U.S. armed forces, you may be able to get a VA loan. Mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) don’t have loan limits and don’t require a down payment or mortgage insurance.
  • USDA loans. If you’d like a home in a designated rural area and you make a low to moderate income, you could qualify for a mortgage backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA loans offer low interest rates and 100% financing.

FAQs about Connecticut’s first-time homebuyer programs

Who qualifies as a first-time homebuyer in Connecticut?

You’re considered a first-time homebuyer for most programs if you haven’t owned or co-owned a home in the past three years, according to HUD. Many home-buying assistance programs don’t require you to be a first-time homebuyer at all.

Can I qualify for down payment assistance in Connecticut?

As long as funds are still available, you could qualify for down payment assistance as long as you meet the program requirements, which include income limits, credit score minimums and location requirements.

How much of a down payment do I need to buy a house in Connecticut?

You may not need any down payment to buy a house in Connecticut. Some mortgage programs, such as VA and USDA loans offer 100% financing. The minimum down payment amount for a conventional mortgage can be as low as 3%. The minimum FHA down payment requirement is 3.5%.

Home price trends in Connecticut’s major areas

Home prices in Connecticut rose across the board in 2021, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. In the fourth quarter of 2021, Hartford County had a median housing price of $294,557, up 14.6% year-over-year. This translated to a monthly mortgage payment bump of $177, to $1,129. In New London, median home prices shot up by 17.5%, to $319,195, increasing the average mortgage payment there by $218 to $1,226. Fairfield’s home prices rose by 12.1%, pulling its median housing price up to $546,529 and raising monthly mortgage rates by $348 to $2,095.

 

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