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2022 Utah First-Time Homebuyer Programs

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Utah has several first-time homebuyer programs that offer down payment and closing costs assistance to borrowers who qualify. These programs typically come with eligibility criteria such as income and location. There might also be a required minimum occupancy or rules against refinancing or selling. The information below can help you determine which Utah homebuyer program would be the right fit for you.

Utah statewide and local first-time homebuyer programs

The Utah Housing Corporation (UHC) offers down payment assistance (DPA) programs to borrowers with low to moderate income, as well as military personnel or veterans who are first-time homebuyers in the state. Other programs, such as the nonprofit Community Development Corporation of Utah (CDCU), administer statewide and localized programs. To learn how much assistance you might be eligible for, check out these first-time homebuyer programs.

Program nameAssistance amountAssistance typeWhere it’s available
Utah Housing Corporation (UHC) Down Payment Assistance Loan6% of loan amount with FirstHome Loan and HomeAgain Loan (4% when paired with the Score Loan)Fixed-rate second loanStatewide
Community Development Corporation of Utah (CDCU) Down Payment Assistance$20,000 to $39,000Forgivable loanSalt Lake City, Taylorsville and certain cities in Salt Lake County
NeighborWorks Salt Lake Down Payment AssistanceUp to $20,000 (up to $25,000 if homebuyer is a Murray City employee, educator, first responder or health care professional)Forgivable loanSalt Lake City, Murray City
Utah Housing Corporation Veterans Grant$2,500Cash grantStatewide
West Valley City Down Payment Assistance GrantUp to $14,999GrantWest Valley City

What to know about different types of down payment assistance

Some first-time homebuyer programs offer help with your down payment and/or closing costs. This may sound like “free money,” but you must meet certain conditions (such as location, income and household limits) to qualify and, in some cases, to keep from having to repay the funds.

Utah’s first-time homebuyer programs offer several types of assistance, including:

Second mortgage. The Utah Housing Corporation offers second (“subordinate”) mortgages. A second mortgage is a loan that is attached to a home that already has a first mortgage loan against it.  You may be eligible to borrow your minimum down payment plus some or all of your closing costs this way.

Forgivable loan. The Community Development Corporation of Utah (CDCU) awards up to $39,000 to eligible homebuyers. This no-payment, no-interest loan is forgivable after five to 10 years.

Grant. West Valley Down Payment Assistance offers up to $14,999. Some grants need not be paid back no matter how long you live in a home. This grant is forgiven after five years of occupancy. The Utah Housing Corporation offers up to $2,500 in a grant for eligible veterans. It doesn’t need to be repaid no matter how long the home is occupied.

How Utah first-time homebuyer programs work

LendingTree researched first-time homebuyer programs in Utah to come up with the programs listed in the chart below. However, some regional first-time homebuyer programs might also be available around the state. Check with local housing authorities and area nonprofits, and also search for “first-time homebuyer programs near [your city]” to look for additional options.

Keep these five steps in mind when seeking approval for a first-time homebuyer program in Utah:

  1. Homebuyer education requirements.To help clients fully understand what they’re getting into, a first-time homebuyer program in Utah could require you to take a class. You might be able to accomplish this coursework online.
  2. Mortgage preapproval.First-time homebuyer programs will let you know which lenders they work with and how to start the process. Note: Some programs in Utah have stricter credit requirements than regular loan programs, but at least two don’t specify a minimum credit score.
  3. Income limits.Down payment assistance programs are aimed at helping low- to moderate-income borrowers get homes of their own. Each program’s website lists limits for your area, household size and loan type.
  4. Repayment requirements.You might need to occupy the new home for a certain amount of time (up to 10 years, in Utah) before you sell or even refinance. If you don’t follow the guidelines, you might have to pay back some of the down payment assistance funds.
  5. Interest rates.The agencies that created these programs set the interest rates, which may be higher than with regular loan programs. Talk with your loan agent to make sure you can afford the higher monthly payments.

Utah first-time homebuyer program requirements

Don’t go into a first-time homebuyer program without a little due diligence. You need to understand the program’s requirements — which may be more strict than minimum mortgage requirements — before applying.  These include minimum credit score requirements as well as income limits. This chart spells out program requirements, to help you find the best match for your situation.

Program name Credit score minimumDTI ratio maximumMaximum income limitHow long you have to live in home
Utah Housing Corporation (UHC) Down Payment Assistance Loan660 (620 for Score Loan)Varies (based on qualification factors)$85,300 to $126,800 (depending on location,family size and which initial home loan it’s paired with)N/A, but home must be owner-occupied throughout the whole loan term and owner cannot rent the home out during this time
Community Development Corporation of Utah (CDCU) Down Payment AssistanceNone45% to 50%At or below 80% of area median income5 to 10 years
NeighborWorks Salt Lake Down Payment AssistanceNoneNone$51,650 to $146,160 (depending on location and family size)5 years
Veterans GrantNoneN/AN/AN/A
West Valley City Down Payment Assistance Grant55043%$32,300 to $97,350 (depending on household size, both 50% and 80% of AMI can qualify)5 years

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

As noted earlier, first-time homebuyer programs base eligibility in part on your household income. These income limits are expressed as a percentage of the median income in your area. To learn the current Utah income limits, go to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website and enter your county and state.

National first-time homebuyer programs

First-time homebuyer programs typically require that you be preapproved for a mortgage. Some  government-backed mortgage programs don’t specify a down payment; these are sometimes referred to as “national first-time homebuyer programs,” even though they are also available to people who don’t fit the description of first-time homebuyer.

You can use Utah’s first-time homebuyer program benefits for the down payment and/or closing costs on the following loan types:

Conventional loans. This refers to mortgages that aren’t backed by the U.S. government. They have higher loan limits and more stringent guidelines than government-secured mortgages. Two popular conventional loan programs for first-time homebuyers are Fannie Mae HomeReady® and Freddie Mac Home Possible®.

FHA loans. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) backs these loans, for those who aren’t eligible for conventional mortgages due to lower credit scores and higher debt-to-income (DTI) ratios. They require two types of FHA mortgage insurance, but you may qualify with a credit score as low as 500.

USDA loans. Available in designated rural areas only, these no-down-payment mortgages are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In lieu of mortgage insurance, you’ll pay a guarantee fee both at the time of purchase and every year until the loan is paid off.

VA loans. Secured by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), these mortgages are for active-duty service members or veterans and for eligible surviving spouses. The VA mortgage has no loan limit, usually no down payment and no mortgage insurance — although there is a funding fee.

FAQs about Utah’s first-time homebuyer programs

Who qualifies as a first-time homebuyer in Utah?

“First-time homebuyer” doesn’t necessarily mean “someone who’s never owned a home before.” The HUD defines it as someone who:

Hasn’t been a homeowner in the previous three years

Had owned a dwelling without a permanent foundation

Had owned a home before with an ex-spouse

Had owned a residence that did not comply with local, state or model building codes and could not be brought into compliance for less than the cost of building a new permanent residence

In addition, some first-time homebuyer programs may come with income restrictions.

Can I qualify for down payment assistance in Utah?

If you meet the qualifications for a Utah first-time homebuyer program, and if funds for that program are available, you might qualify for down payment assistance.

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

That depends on what kind of mortgage you get. If you qualify for a USDA or a VA mortgage, you might not need a down payment at all to get into a home. Conventional first-time homebuyer lenders may request as little as 3% down; for an FHA mortgage you’ll be required to make at least a 3.5% down payment.

Home price trends in Utah’s major areas

Home prices in Utah’s three most populous counties rose sharply in 2021, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Utah County (Provo) saw the biggest price jump: 28.5%, to a median home price of $504,059, which translates to an extra $480 per month in mortgage payments, to $1,932. Close behind is Davis County (Ogden-Clearfield), where home prices rose by 28.3%, to $479,877, for a mortgage bump of $455, to $1,840. Salt Lake County, which has the biggest population, saw a 26% price increase, to $497,866, and an average monthly mortgage rate increase of $455, to $1,909.

 

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