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2022 New Hampshire First-Time Homebuyer Programs

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New Hampshire residents have access to multiple first-time homebuyer programs and initiatives throughout the state. Through these programs, prospective homeowners can receive low-interest loans, down payment assistance and federal tax credits. To qualify, applicants must meet income requirements and other program guidelines. This article provides an overview of first-time homebuyer programs in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire statewide and local first-time homebuyer programs

New Hampshire Housing offers multiple statewide programs to first-time homebuyers. Generally, the agency’s programs target borrowers with incomes below $137,400; however, each initiative has specific income restrictions and additional guidelines.

In addition to the New Hampshire Housing programs, some local government and community organizations may offer homebuyer programs on the county or city level. Here’s a glance at some New Hampshire first-time homebuyer programs.

Program nameAssistance amountAssistance typeWhere it’s available
Home Flex PlusUp to 4% of loan amount for down payment and closing costsFour-year forgivable second mortgageStatewide
Home PreferredLoan amount depends on borrower’s eligibilityLow-interest fixed-rate mortgagesStatewide
Home Preferred PlusUp to 4% of loan amount for down payment and closing costsFour-year forgivable second mortgageStatewide
Community Heroes Initiative$3,000 closing-cost assistanceCredit at closingStatewide
Homebuyer Tax Credit10% or 50% mortgage interest annual tax credit up to $2,000Federal tax creditStatewide

What to know about different types of down payment assistance

Closing cost and down payment assistance can come in many forms. Buyers should learn how programs work before applying to avoid surprises later on.

  • Second mortgages: New Hampshire Housing’s two down payment assistance programs are forgivable loans. This means borrowers take on a zero-interest second mortgage with no payments. The loan is forgiven as long as they stay in the home for the required time. Other down payment assistance programs may be second loans with interest and traditional payments, while some may have deferred payments.
  • Closing credit: One of New Hampshire Housing’s programs offers closing cost assistance as a credit. This credit reduces the amount of cash due at closing.
  • Grant: Some community down payment assistance programs may come as a grant. Applicants do not need to repay grant money.

How New Hampshire first-time homebuyer programs work

To apply for one of the first-time homebuyer programs in New Hampshire, borrowers should prepare to take the following steps.

1. Review programs.Familiarize yourself with the available programs, including income limits, borrower requirements and program fees. New Hampshire Housing provides a “Are You Ready?” quiz to determine if you can begin the application process. In addition to state programs, be sure to look into regional and local homebuyer programs in New Hampshire.

2. Attend a homebuyer education class.Buyers applying to any of New Hampshire Housing’s programs must attend a homebuyer education course available through the agency. Online and in-person options are available.

3. Choose a participating lender.When you’re ready to apply, you’ll work directly with a participating lender in your area.

4. Prequalify for a loan.Your lender will walk you through the application process and program requirements. They will ask you for your financial information and documents to prequalify you for a mortgage.

5. Apply for the Homebuyer Tax Credit.Borrowers who plan to take advantage of the Mortgage Credit Certificate must apply before closing on the home. Your lender will guide you through the application process.

6. Be aware of program details.Make sure you understand any guidelines you must meet after closing on the home, such as remaining in the house for a certain amount of time.

New Hampshire first-time homebuyer program requirements

Each homebuyer program has borrower and credit guidelines based on established mortgage requirements. Keep in mind some lenders may set additional qualifications.

Program name Credit score minimumDTI ratio maximumMaximum income limitHow long you have to live in home
Home Flex Plus62050% (higher DTI may be allowed with a credit score of 680 or higher)$137,400Four years
Home Preferred62045% (50% may be allowed in some cases)$43,400 to $127,565, depending on property location and family size; serves borrowers with incomes up to 80% of the area median incomeN/A
Home Preferred Plus62045% (50% may be allowed in some cases)$43,400 to $137,400, depending on property location and family size; conventional financing for borrowers with income exceeding 80% of AMIFour years
Community Heroes Initiative620As per loan requirementsUnder $137,400N/A
Homebuyer Tax CreditAs per loan requirementsAs per loan requirements$98,200 to $137,400, depending on property location and family sizeN/A

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Some loans and down payment assistance initiatives for first-time homebuyers are limited to borrowers whose income falls within program limits. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) establishes these limits and bases them on your family size and the median income for the area in which you are buying. Looking up the income limits for your county can give you an idea of the programs for which you’ll qualify.

National first-time homebuyer programs

The first-time homebuyer programs in New Hampshire provide assistance paired with national mortgage programs. These loans aren’t all specific to first-time buyers; however, they provide favorable terms such as low down payments and flexible credit requirements. Borrowers can also apply for these mortgages independently of homebuyer programs.

Conventional loans. Typically, conventional (non-government) loans have stricter borrower requirements and higher down payments, but a few programs have lenient guidelines. Low- and moderate-income borrowers can apply for Fannie Mae’s HomeReady® or Freddie Mac’s Home Possible® programs. Both programs have a low minimum downpayment of 3%. First-time buyers, including borrowers who haven’t owned a home in the past three years, can qualify for HomeOne, a Freddie Mac program. HomeOne loans have a minimum down payment of 3% and no income restrictions.

FHA loans. Mortgages guaranteed by The Federal Housing Administration are FHA loans. These loans have a minimum down payment of 3.5% and a credit score requirement of 580 or above. Buyers with credit scores between 500 and 579 can qualify with a 10% down payment.

VA loans. Active-duty servicemembers, veterans and eligible spouses can purchase a home with no money down with a loan from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to no down payment requirement, VA loans have flexible credit guidelines.

USDA loans. Borrowers who live in designated rural areas may be eligible for a mortgage from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA loans have no down payment requirement and are available to low- and moderate-income borrowers.

FAQs about New Hampshire first-time homebuyer programs

Who qualifies as a first-time homebuyer in New Hampshire?

For most homebuyer programs, the term first-time homebuyer usually includes anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years.

While some of the New Hampshire Housing programs require first-time homebuyer status, many are open to all applicants who meet income and residency requirements. And in some cases, borrowers, such as those purchasing a home in a targeted area, may be exempt from any first-time buyer requirements.

Can I qualify for down payment assistance in New Hampshire?

To qualify for one of New Hampshire’s down payment assistance programs, you’ll need to meet income restrictions, attend a homebuyer education class and be eligible for a first mortgage.

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

Minimum down payments range from 3% to 5%, depending on the loan program. Some mortgages, like USDA and VA loans, do not require a down payment. Additionally, borrowers who qualify for down payment assistance may be able to buy a home with no money down.

Home price trends in New Hampshire’s major areas

In New Hampshire, home prices followed national trends in 2021 and increased throughout the state. In Merrimack County, prices rose 12.8% from a year earlier to a median home price of $299,429. The typical payment for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the county is about $100 higher than the year before.

Prices in Hillsborough County saw similar increases. Median home prices jumped 11.9% to $345,189, and the typical mortgage payment is $105 more than the year prior.

Strafford County saw more modest increases at 9.2%. The current median home price is $295,044, and the typical monthly mortgage payment rose by about $65 year over year.

 

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