Oregon First Time Residence Patrons: 2021 Applications and Grants

What You Should Know About Buying a Home in Oregon

As a first-time home buyer in Oregon, it can feel like walking uphill. Because home prices in the state are undeniably high. And saving enough to become a homeowner can be a real challenge.

But do not despair. Because Oregon has a lot of help in store for you, including homebuyer education and advice, as well as state and local mortgage programs.

And best of all, you get some serious cash assistance to add to your deposit savings.

Check Your Eligibility to Buy a Home in Oregon. Start here (10/14/2021)

In this article (continue to …)

Oregon Home Buyer Summary

The median home sales price in Oregon in September 2021 was $ 510,000, according to Redfin. That may not be the highest national price in America, but it is much higher than the national average.

And that can make it difficult for a first-time buyer in Oregon to save enough on a down payment and closing costs. So read on to discover programs that might offer you cash assistance.

Oregon Home Buyer Summary

Average property price in OR
$ 510,000

Minimum deposit in the OR (3%)
$ 15,300

20% deposit in the OR
$ 102,000

Average credit score in OR1

Maximum Grant for Home Buyers 2
Up to $ 100,000 Forgivable Loan in Portland Only

Down payment amounts are based on the last available average home sale price in the state. A “minimum” down payment is assumed to be 3% less than a conventional mortgage with a minimum credit rating of 620.

If you are eligible for a VA loan (supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs) or a USDA loan (supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture), you may not require a down payment at all.

Check Your Eligibility to Buy a Home in Oregon. Start here (10/14/2021)

Initial Loans for Oregon Homebuyers

If this is your first time buying a home in Oregon with a 20% down payment, you can get a conventional loan with a low interest rate. And you never have to pay for personal mortgage insurance (PMI).

Of course, only a few first-time buyers have saved enough for 20 percent. But the good news is you don't need that much. By far not.

Borrowers can often move into a new home as little as 3% or even 0% with one of these low down payment mortgage programs:

Conventional 97 – From Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. 3% down payment and at least 620 credits. You can usually stop paying mortgage insurance after a few yearsFHA loans – Supported by the Federal Housing Administration. Down 3.5% and a credit score of at least 580. But you're usually on the hook for mortgage insurance until you refinance, move to another type of mortgage, or pay off your loanVA loan – For veterans, active service members, reservists and National Guard only. A zero deposit is required. The minimum credit score varies by lender, but is often 620. No ongoing mortgage insurance upon completion. These are arguably the best mortgages available. So apply when you are eligibleUSDA loan – For low to middle income people who shop in designated rural areas. Zero deposit required. The creditworthiness requirements vary depending on the lender, but often 640. Low mortgage insurance ratesOHCS loan – May include competitive interest rates and can be used with down payment assistance. More information below

Note that most of these programs require you to purchase a primary residence. This is a home that you will live in full time, not a vacation home or investment.

Depending on the mortgage loan you choose, you may be able to get into your new home with minimal cash out of your pocket.

With these programs, you can even use free cash or Down Payment Assistance (DPA) to help cover down payment and closing costs.

If you are unsure which program to choose for your first mortgage loan, your lender can help you find the right deal based on your finances and your home purchase goals.

Find the best first-time buyer loan for you (October 14, 2021)

Oregon Programs for First Time Home Buyers

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) offers the Oregon Bond Residential Loan Program. This "is helping low- and middle-income families in Oregon buy their first home".

If you qualify, you can expect very generous support. In fact, it boasts that you could possibly even get a mortgage "with as little as a zero cash deposit".

OHCS has two main programs. Cash Advantage helps with your down payment. And Rate Advantage brings you a lower mortgage rate, which means you can afford a better home.

To qualify for an OHCS mortgage, you must:

Be a first-time home buyer in Oregon, choose a participating lender from the United States OHCS approved listTake a Homebuyer Training Course If you have a household income that is below or below the OHCS limits, contact a housing counselor

To find out if you qualify, speak to a housing counselor or contact one of the lenders on the approved list.

These terms are common with deposit support programs. And others you find are likely to have similar ones. Of course, income limits and approved lenders may vary depending on the program

Grants for First Time Home Buyers in Oregon

The OHCS says, "Eligible homebuyers who have completed homebuyer training and recommended coaching from a qualified organization may qualify for a down payment and / or graduation allowance of up to $ 15,000."

You can assume that the conditions listed above apply. You can access OHCS funds through an approved lender and through a number of local programs listed at this link.

But the OHCS does not reveal some important details. Is that a grant or a loan? If it is a loan, do you have to repay it or will it be granted after x years? You need to ask these questions to an advisor or approved lender.

Check Your Eligibility to Buy a Home in Oregon. Start here (10/14/2021)

Buy a home in major Oregon cities

None of Oregon's three major cities have low property prices. Unsurprisingly, Portland was the most expensive. But there is good news for those shopping there: home prices rose the slowest in the 12 months leading up to August 2021.

Eugene and Salem had lower prices but higher rate of price increases.

Regardless of the city (or county) you are shopping in, be sure to check out the local deposit support programs. Because one of them may offer you better help than the nationwide OHCS.

First time home buyer in Portland

The average list price in Portland was $ 539,000 as of August 2021, according to That was 6.8% more than in the previous year.

At these average prices, your down payment options can range from the following:

$ 16,170 for 3% deposit$ 107,800 for 20% deposit

The City of Portland also has a potentially generous down payment assistance program.

Assuming your household income is at or below 100% of Portland's current Area Median Income (AMI), adjusted for family size, you can make up to $ 80,000 across town. And up to $ 100,000 in certain destinations.

This is a 30 year loan (second mortgage) with a 0% interest rate and no monthly payments. If you sell, move out, refinance, transfer, or pay off your home mortgage during the first 15 years, you will need to repay the loan in full. But at the end of year 15, 50% will be waived. And then more will be granted in the following years, until in year 30, when your main mortgage (“first”) mortgage is fully paid off, you no longer owe anything.

That's good if you stay for 15 years, and a great deal if you stay for 30 years. Click this link above for more information.

Salem first time home buyers

The average list price in Salem was $ 389,900 as of August 2021, according to That was 15% more than in the previous year.

If you want to buy a home at this average price, your down payment options can be between the following options:

$ 11,700 for 3% deposit$ 77,980 for 20% deposit

The city of Salem says their HOME Investment Partnership Program can help with the initial cost of homebuyers. And that help can come in the form of a grant, a deferred loan, or a market rate loan.

However, it does not contain any details or eligibility criteria. Call the program at (503) 540-2494 for more details.

Eugene first time home buyer

The average list price in Eugene was $ 440,000 as of August 2021, according to That was 17.3% more than in the previous year.

If you want to buy a home at this average price, your down payment options can be between the following options:

$ 13,200 for 3% deposit$ 88,000 for 20% deposit

Some sources say that the city of Eugene has a deposit support program. However, if that's true, we couldn't find it on the city's website.

We recommend calling or emailing for more information. But the city only provides one street address on its website under "Contact Us": City of Eugene, Oregon, City Manager’s Office, 101 West 10th Avenue, Suite 203, Eugene, OR 97401.

Where can I find help buying a house in Oregon

All of the organizations listed above should provide free advice to any first-time home buyer in or around Oregon.

In addition to our selections, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers some lists for statewide, regional, and local resources.

State and regional homebuyer programs in Oregon

Oregon Home Buying Programs by Region

Also, click the link to view the Oregon Realtors Deposit Support Programs list by county.

What Are The Mortgage Rates In Oregon Today?

See the latest live Oregon mortgage rates here.

When you're ready to start buying your home, make sure you get personalized interest rate quotes from at least three mortgage lenders.

Don't just look at the advertised prices online; In fact, apply for pre-approval and compare the interest rates and fees that are offered to you. This is the only way you can be sure that you are getting the best possible offer for your new home loan.

Confirm your new plan (October 14, 2021)

1 Source: 2021 study on 2020 data

2Based on a review of available state DPA grants at the time of this writing

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