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New Hampshire First-Time Home Buyer

What to know about buying a house in New Hampshire

Home prices in New Hampshire have been rising in recent years, but not as rapidly as in many other parts of the country.

And, in other good news for first–time home buyers, New Hampshire has a variety of home loans and assistance programs that can help you save on your mortgage and homeownership costs.

Here’s how to get started.

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New Hampshire home buyer overview

The median list price in New Hampshire was $449,850 in January 2022, according to Redfin. And home prices statewide were up 13.6% year–over–year that month.

Those rising prices can feel like a real challenge for first–time buyers. So read on to discover ways in which your state can help you move from home buyer to homeowner.

New Hampshire home buyer stats

Average Home Listing Price in NH $449,850
Minimum Down Payment in NH (3%) $13,495
20% Down Payment in NH $89,970
Average Credit Score in NH1 729
Maximum NH Home Buyer Grant2 Up to 4% as a loan,
forgiven after 4 years

Down payment amounts are based on the state’s most recently available average home sale price. “Minimum” down payment assumes 3% down on a conventional mortgage with a minimum credit score of 620.

If you’re eligible for a VA loan (backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs) or a USDA loan (backed by the US Department of Agriculture), you may not need any down payment at all.

First–time home buyer loans in New Hampshire

If you’re a first–time home buyer in New Hampshire with a 20% down payment, you can get a conventional loan with a low interest rate. And you never have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Of course, few first–time buyers have saved enough for 20 percent down. But the good news is, you don’t need that much. Not by a long shot.

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

  • Conventional 97 – From Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. 3% down payment and 620 minimum FICO score. You can usually stop paying mortgage insurance after a few years once you reach 20% home equity
  • FHA loan – Backed by the Federal Housing Administration. 3.5% down and a 580 minimum credit score. But you’re on the hook for mortgage insurance until you refinance to a different type of mortgage, move, or pay off your loan
  • VA loan – Only for veterans and service members. Zero down payment is required. Minimum credit score varies by lender but often 620. No ongoing mortgage insurance after closing. These are arguably the best mortgages available, so apply if you’re eligible
  • USDA loan – For those on low–to–moderate incomes buying in designated rural areas. Zero down payment required. Credit score requirements vary by lender but often start at 640. Low mortgage insurance rates
  • NHHFA loans – May include no or low mortgage insurance, mortgage credit certificate tax savings, and down payment assistance. More information below

Note that government loan programs (including the FHA, VA, and USDA home loans) require you to buy a primary residence. That means you can’t use these loans for a vacation home or investment property.

Depending on the mortgage loan you choose, you could potentially get into your new house with minimal cash out of pocket.

These programs even let you use gifted money or down payment assistance (DPA) to cover the down payment and closing costs.

If you’re not sure which program to choose for your first mortgage loan, your lender can help you find the right match based on your finances and home buying goals.

NH first–time home buyer programs

The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (NHHFA) says that it “offers targeted loan products that may provide you with low down payment requirements, cash for down payment and closing costs and low– and no–mortgage insurance options.”

Reduced mortgage insurance

We’ll get into assistance program in the next section. But first, it’s worth focusing on that mention of mortgage insurance.

Most first–time buyers hate PMI because it can be expensive, sometimes costing in the hundreds every month. So, if the NHHFA can eliminate or reduce your mortgage insurance premium, that could represent serious savings in your homeownership costs.

Mortgage credit certificates

The NHHFA also offers mortgage credit certificates (MCCs). Those are tax credits that can save you up to $2,000 each year on your federal tax bill. MCCs can be valuable, even if you take the standard deduction from the IRS rather than itemize your deductions.

Mortgage loan programs

We could find only a few details on the NHHFA’s website about its three mortgage programs:

  1. Home Flex Plus program – Use in conjuction with FHA, VA and USDA loans
  2. Home Preferred Plus – Use with a conventional mortgage
  3. Purchase Rehab mortgage – Use with a Home Flex Plus mortgage to buy a fixer–upper with a $35,000 rehab and renovation budget

To qualify for these mortgages, you’ll have to have an income below certain thresholds. You can see local household income limits on this factsheet.

You must also choose your lender from a list of lenders approved by the NHHFA. But it’s quite a long list and includes several national lenders that we know to be excellent.

You can learn more about becoming a homeowner, mortgage credit certificates, and the purchase–rehab loan program using one of the NHHFA’s online courses. And, if you still need more information, you can contact one of its approved lenders.

NH first–time home buyer grants

The NHHFA doesn’t offer grants to New Hampshire first–time home buyers. But it does provide forgivable loans, which can be used toward your down payment and closing costs.

These loans are second mortgages. But they are “silent,” meaning you don’t make monthly payments. And you don’t pay any interest.

Best of all, the NHHFA forgives your loan after just four years, provided you remain in residence and don’t sell the home or refinance during that time. So the program is nearly as good as a grant if you plan to stay in your home for four years or more.

So how much can you borrow? NHHFA says it lends “up to 4% of the loan amount in cash funds for downpayment and closing costs.” Talk to one of those participating lenders (link above) to see if you qualify.

Buying a home in New Hampshire’s major cities

If you wish to buy a home in one of New Hampshire’s three biggest cities, you may be in luck. Because average home prices in those are lower than the statewide average.

Manchester first–time home buyers

In January 2022, the median list price of homes in Manchester was $325,000. That was an increase of 13.6% year–over–year, according to

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $9,750 for 3% down payment
  • $65,000 for 20% down payment

The City of Manchester’s website mentions funding sources that are sometimes used for down payment assistance but doesn’t refer to any programs of its own. We suspect you’ll have to use one of the NHHFA’s programs if you want this sort of help.

Nashua first–time home buyers

In January 2022, the median list price of homes in Nashua was $389,000. That was an increase of 11.2% year–over–year, according to

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $11,670 for 3% down payment
  • $77,800 for 20% down payment

When we visited, Nashua’s website said: “The City is considering funding a home buyer program for low–moderate income buyers. If approved, the Program will likely be run through a local non–profit housing provider. Please check back in the coming months for updates.” So check for updates when you’re ready to buy.

Concord first–time home buyers

In January 2022, the median list price of homes in Concord was $315,000 That was an increase of 14.5% year–over–year, according to

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $9,450 for 3% down payment
  • $63,000 for 20% down payment

Again, Concord City appears not to have a down payment assistance program on its website. But you could call city hall at (603) 225–8610 to check. Otherwise, the NHHFA’s program is good.

Where to find home buying help in New Hampshire

All the organizations we’ve listed above should provide advice freely to any first–time home buyer in the state of New Hampshire or within their areas.

In addition to our selection, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides a few lists for statewide, regional, and local resources:

Statewide and regional first-time home buyer programs in NH

Programs by city/town

What are today’s mortgage rates in New Hampshire?

You can see today’s live mortgage rates in New Hampshire here.

When you’re ready to start the home buying process, make sure you get personalized rate quotes from at least three mortgage lenders.

Don’t just look at advertised rates online; actually apply for preapproval and compare the interest rates and fees you’re offered. That’s the only way to know you’re getting the best deal possible on your new home loan.

1 Source: 2021 study of 2020 data

2Based on a review of the state’s available DPA grants at the time this was written

The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.

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