Idaho First-Time Homebuyer Programs

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Updated on Thursday, February 21, 2019

If you’re planning to buy property in Idaho, you’re not alone. The state’s charms like Boise’s urban pleasures and outdoor adventures in the breathtaking state and national parks draw in first-time buyers of all stripes wishing to put down roots in the Gem State.

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Idaho offers several programs to help first-time homebuyers realize their dreams — even if they’re short on cash for a down payment.

Idaho first-time homebuyer programs

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) administers the state’s affordable housing resources. The association is a self-supporting corporation that does not use any state funds for its operations. Its stated mission is to provide funding for affordable housing opportunities when most economically feasible and where the opportunities are most needed.

Eligibility for Idaho assistance

For the programs listed below, borrowers must be Idaho residents with income that does not exceed $110,000 for all counties except Blaine County, where income must not exceed $120,000. You’ll need a credit score of at least 620 for most programs, though some may require a higher credit score. Homebuyer education courses are required on some loans if both borrowers are first-time homebuyers.

Idaho Housing Home Loans

Idaho Housing Home Loans are available for single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and manufactured housing.


The Idaho Housing Home Loan program offers

  • Interest rates as low as 4.5% for conventional loans
  • Low or no mortgage insurance
  • Tax credits of up to $2,000 annually


In order to participate in the program, you must:

  • Make less than $90,000 annually
  • Have a credit score of at least 620

How it works

The first step is to contact a participating lender. From there, your lender will determine your eligibility for the program as well as the amount for which you qualify. As part of this process, your lender will take into consideration factors such as your credit history and annual household income.

IHFA Second Mortgage

The IHFA Second Mortgage Program can be combined with other loan products if you have a credit score of at least 680 or with the First Loan program if you have a minimum credit score of 640.


The Second Mortgage program offers

  • Down payment and closing cost assistance
  • A fixed interest rate of 5% over 10 years
  • Low monthly payments


In order to participate in the program, you must

  • Meet credit and income requirements
  • Take the Finally Home!® Homebuyer Education class if both borrowers are first-time homebuyers
  • Contribute at least 0.5% of the sales price from your own funds to the purchase of the home

How it works

Your first step in the process is to contact a participating lender. From there, your chosen lender will use income, credit and other financial information to figure out if you qualify for the program or for another Idaho Housing program.

IHFA Forgivable Grant

The Forgivable Grant has no first-time homebuyer requirement and can be used for refinance loans as well as traditional mortgages.


  • No first-time homebuyer requirement
  • Down payment and closing cost assistance
  • Up to 3.5% of the sales price is forgivable over seven years


  • First-time or repeat homebuyer
  • Refinances are eligible
  • You must contribute at least 0.5% of the sales price from your own funds
  • Finally Home!® Homebuyer Education class required if both borrowers are first-time homebuyers

How it works

Your first step will be to contact a participating lender. After this point, your lender will be able to advise you if you qualify for this or another Idaho Housing program. Your financial information such as credit reports, debt picture and annual household income are all factors in this decision.

Homebuyer Tax Credit

The Homebuyer Tax Credit can be used in conjunction with other Idaho Housing home loan products. The tax credit directly reduces your income tax due.


  • Provides an annual tax credit of up to $2,000, based on a percentage of the total mortgage interest paid each year.
  • Unused tax credit may be carried forward for up to three years.


  • Owner occupancy required
  • First-time homebuyer requirements may apply
  • Idaho Housing’s First Loan program household income limits apply
  • Borrower fee of $300 required

How it works

Based on a the assumption of a 35% tax credit on a $150,000 mortgage at 4% interest, your amount of mortgage interest paid will decrease yearly, going from $5,952 the first year to $5,844 the second year, then $5,732 the third year, then $5,615 the fourth year and $5,495 the fifth. That said, the tax credit is for the entire life of the loan. Your mileage may vary, so make sure to check with your lender for specifics.

National first-time homebuyer programs

Besides these Idaho state programs, nationwide programs are also at the ready and may help you buy your first home. To learn more, visit LendingTree’s guide to national first-time homebuyer programs.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.

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