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First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Oregon

Updated Feb 11, 2020   |   6 mins read

Buying a home is a major milestone that most Americans hope to achieve. But in higher-cost markets like those in Oregon, financial limitations can get in the way of this goal. Fortunately, there are resources available to help.

Are you a hopeful first-time home buyer in Oregon? This guide will explain your options.

In this guide:

Oregon First-Time Home Buyer Programs

Oregon’s first-time home buyer programs are offered through Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). OHCS is a state agency that aims to make housing safer and more affordable for all Oregon residents.

Its main program is the Oregon Bond Residential Loan Program, which uses tax-exempt bonds to fund low-cost, low-interest mortgage loans to eligible families looking to purchase their first home.

Through this program, you can access one of the following two loan types:


  • Low interest rates
  • Financial literacy education and homeownership counseling available
  • Foreclosure avoidance programs available
  • Can include down payment assistance
  • No prepayment penalties
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loans
  • Limits the fees and points you can owe


Oregon CashAdvantage Home Loan

The CashAdvantage Home Loan program offers low interest rates and closing cost assistance up to 3% of the loan amount. The interest rate is higher than on the RateAdvantage program (explained below), but it can help lower the initial, up-front costs of buying a home.


  • Up to 3% cash assistance toward closing costs
  • Minimal cash-to-close required
  • Low interest rates

Oregon RateAdvantage Home Loan

The RateAdvantage Home Loan program offers very low interest rates and is designed to lower both your monthly payments and the amount of interest you pay across the life of your mortgage. It does not include closing cost assistance, which you can get under the CashAdvantage program mentioned above.


  • Lowest possible interest rates
  • Lower monthly payments
  • Less interest paid over time

Oregon Down Payment Assistance Programs

There are also several down payment assistance programs that can help you fund the initial purchase of your property. These are available through a number of agencies across the state and offer up to $15,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance.


  • Up to $15,000 in assistance available
  • Can be used toward your down payment, closing costs, or both
  • Available through numerous agencies across the state


  • You must complete a home buyer education course.
  • You must fall under the income limits for the program you’re applying for. (This varies by agency).
  • You must apply directly through the agency from which you are seeking assistance (outlined below).
Agency Name ​County Service Area
Jackson & Josephine
Bend Area Habitat for Humanity
Community Action Program of East Central Oregon
Gilliam, Morrow, Umatilla & Wheeler
​Community Action Team
​Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook
Community in Action
​Habitat for Humanity Oregon
Habitat for Humanity Oregon
Benton, Columbia, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Marion, Polk Yamhill
​Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East
​Multnomah, Northern Clackamas
Hacienda Co​mmunity Development Corporation
Housing Authority of Yamhill County
Klamath & Lake Community Action Services​
Klamath & Lake
Native American Youth & Family Center
Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington
Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO)
Clackamas, Lane, Marion, Polk
​NeighborWorks Umpqua
​Coos, Curry, Douglas
Portland Housing Center
Clackamas, Multnomah & Washington
​Proud Ground
​Clackamas, Lincoln, Multnomah, Washington
Willamette Neighborhood Housing Service
Benton, Lincoln & Linn
​Willamette West Habitat for Humanity​​

Federal First-Time Home Buyer Programs

In addition to OHCS programs, Oregon first-time buyers also have a number of federal options at their disposal. If one of the statewide programs is not an option for your home purchase, one of these federal first-time home buyer programs may be able to help.

  • FHA Loans: FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. They boast low interest rates and allow for credit scores as low as 500 to 580, depending on the size of your down payment. Only FHA-approved lenders can issue these loans.
  • VA Loans: VA loans are mortgages reserved for veterans, military members, and their surviving spouses. These loans require no down payment, have low VA mortgage rates, and are insured through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Only VA-approved mortgage lenders offer these loans.
  • NADL Loans: These loans can help Native American veterans and military members purchase real estate on National Trust Land. They also require no down payment and are insured through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • USDA Loans: USDA loans are for use on eligible rural properties. They require no down payment and are insured by the Department of Agriculture.
  • Good Neighbor Next Door Loans: The Good Neighbor Next Door program offers HUD-owned properties for 50% off to eligible school teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public servants.
  • Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac Loans: Conventional mortgage loans offer down payments as low as 3%. These come with higher credit score requirements than other loans.

Best Places to Live in Oregon

With so many towns and cities in Oregon, it can be hard to decide where to buy a home.

To help you with this problem, we have included rankings of the top 50 places to live in Ohio below. These rankings come from Area Vibes and consider a variety of important factors including crime, employment, housing, schools, weather, amenities, and cost of living.

RankCityLivability Score
2Oak Hills82
3West Haven-Sylvan82
4Lake Oswego81
5West Linn80
7Raleigh Hills80
8Cedar Mill80
9West Slope79
10Garden Home-Whitford79
12Baker City78
16La Grande77
21Happy Valley76
27Bull Mountain75
29Jennings Lodge75
30Junction City74
32Central Point74
35St. Helens73
36Oregon City73
40Cedar Hills72
41North Bend72
44Hood River70
48Oak Grove70

Bottom Line: Oregon First-Time Home Buyers Have Options

The home buying process can be difficult to navigate, especially if you’re working with limited financial resources. Luckily, both the state of Oregon and the federal government have mortgage programs that can help.

Want more help preparing for your home purchase? Use our mortgage calculator to find out what payments you can afford today.