Oregon First-Time Homebuyer Programs

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Updated on Monday, April 1, 2019

Whether you’re looking to live on Oregon’s coast, on the urban streets of Portland or in the state’s gorgeous swaths of rural land, if you’re a first-time homebuyer in the Beaver State, you’re in luck. The state government offers several programs designed to make homeownership more affordable. Oregon’s homebuyer programs expand your options, with low-interest mortgages and down payment assistance.

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Below, we’ll go over the first-time homebuyer programs available for Oregon residents in 2019.

Oregon first-time homebuyer programs

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) offers several programs designed to help first-time homebuyers afford the home of their dreams. The department organizes a variety of down payment assistance programs across the state, and homebuyers looking for a top-notch interest rate on a mortgage are in luck, too.
You can choose the mortgage plan that best suits you from two of the department’s programs. Whether you need help with the down payment or prefer a below-market interest rate on the mortgage, you can find a program to help ease the financial burden of homebuying.

Cash Advantage Home Loan

What is it?

The Cash Advantage Home Loan is funded by bonds that the OHCS periodically issues to help first-time homebuyers get low-interest loans.
The program gives prospective first-time buyers a big down payment boost. Not only will you receive a mortgage with a low interest rate, but you’ll also get a cash payment of 3% of the loan amount to help with a down payment and closing costs. Rest easily knowing there’s no repayment requirement. Check out the current interest rates at Oregon.gov.

The Cash Advantage Home Loan offers

  • A low fixed interest rate for an FHA mortgage or a USDA-RD loan.
  • Cash assistance of 3% of the loan amount, with no repayment required.


To be eligible for the Cash Advantage Home Loan program, you must

How to apply

Apply for this loan through a participating lender who will determine whether you qualify and guide you through the purchasing process. OHCS buys the mortgage after it’s approved and closed to hold as a long-term investment.

Rate Advantage Home Loan

What is it?

Oregon’s Rate Advantage Home Loan is the sister program of the Cash Advantage Home Loan. Maybe you don’t need the down payment boost offered by the Cash Advantage Home Loan — or don’t mind paying the private mortgage insurance premiums required on purchases with down payments smaller than 20%. You can opt instead for a below-market rate mortgage, which helps make your monthly payments easier on the wallet.
Oregon’s Rate Advantage Home Loan program provides


To be eligible for the Rate Advantage Home Loan program, you must

  • Be a first-time homebuyer (not have owned a home within the previous three years), or be purchasing a home in a federally targeted area (view Oregon targeted areas).
  • Qualify under the income limits (view limits by county).
  • Be an Oregon resident.
  • Purchase a property within the purchase price limits (view price limits).

How to apply

A participating lender can guide you through the process of qualifying and applying for this loan. Once you’ve closed on the house, OHCS will buy the mortgage as a long-term investment.

Down Payment Assistance

What is it?

The OHCS department works with various local organizations to help buyers across the state afford a down payment on a home. This program is funded by Oregon’s document recording fee and is designed to help low- and very low–income families own homes.
Oregon’s local and regional down payment assistance programs offer

  • Up to $15,000 toward down payment and closing costs.


To be eligible for the Down Payment Assistance programs, you must

  • Be a first-time homebuyer.
  • Complete a homebuyer education program.

How to apply

These programs work differently depending on where in Oregon you live and the organization that provides the assistance. Different organizations may have different eligibility requirements. To find the agency that serves your area, visit the OHCS website.

National assistance

Oregon’s programs offer a variety of options for potential first-time homebuyers, but you may want to consider looking at national programs, too. These tax credits, affordable mortgage programs and financial assistance can help you afford your first home.
For more information, check out LendingTree’s general guide to first-time homebuyer programs. (LendingTree is the parent company of MagnifyMoney.)

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