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West Virginia First-Time Home Buyer


What to know about buying a house in West Virginia

In some ways, West Virginia first-time home buyers have a head start. Home prices are lower and have been rising more slowly in the state than the nationwide average.

In addition, West Virginia offers home buyer education courses, special mortgages, and down payment assistance programs that can provide cash help for qualified buyers. Ready to get started?


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West Virginia home buyer overview

In March 2022, the median home listing price in West Virginia was $274,300 according to Redfin. Home prices statewide were up 12.1% year-over-year that month.

West Virginia home buyer stats

Average Home Sale Price in WV $274,300
Minimum Down Payment in WV (3%) $8,230
20% Down Payment in WV $54,860
Average Credit Score in WV1 695
Maximum WV Home Buyer Grant2 Up to $27,000 as a forgivable loan in Charleston only

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 West Virginia

If you’re a first–time home buyer in West Virginia 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 640. Low mortgage insurance rates
  • WVHDF loans — May include below-market rates and down payment assistance. More information below

Note that government loan programs (including 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.

In addition, most programs let you use gifted money or down payment assistance (DPA) to cover your down payment and closing costs. Depending on the mortgage loan you choose, you could potentially get into your new house with minimal cash out of pocket.

If you’re unsure which program to choose for your first mortgage, your lender can help you find the right match based on your finances and home buying goals.

WV first-time home buyer programs

The West Virginia Housing Development Fund (WVHDF) Homeownership Program offers a range of mortgages based on government-backed FHA, VA, and USDA loans as well as conventional loans. These loans are meant to offer low rates and affordable down payments for West Virginia first-time home buyers.

When we checked the mortgage rates published on the WVHDF website and compared them with those on offer generally in the state, the fund’s rates were very competitive indeed. So you might be in line for an excellent deal.

To qualify, you must be at or below household income limits that vary by county and household size. Check those limits to see if you’re eligible. You must also undertake a home buyer education course to enter the program.

There are doubtless other eligibility criteria, including a cap on the home’s purchase price and probably a credit score threshold. But those aren’t specified on the website. So call 1 (800) 933-8511 to get your questions answered.

WV first-time home buyer grants

The WVHDF down payment assistance program does not offer grants or forgivable loans. Instead, it provides a second mortgage, which has to be repaid over 15 years in parallel with your main mortgage.

However, that second mortgage comes with a highly advantageous rate. At the time we visited the website, it was just 2%, though it may have risen by the time you read this.

Under this Homeownership program, you can borrow up to $7,500 if your down payment is 10% or less of the purchase price. But, if your down payment is more than 10%, you can borrow up to $10,000.

Again, call 1 (800) 933-8511 or (304) 391-8738 for more information.

Buying a home in West Virginia’s major cities

If you’re a first-time home buyer in one of West Virginia’s three biggest cities, you may be in luck. Home prices there are lower or much lower than the statewide average.

And they’re rising less quickly. Indeed, in Charleston and Morgantown, prices actually fell between March 2021 and March 2022. And first-time buyers in Charleston may have access to the state’s best down payment assistance program.

Charleston first-time home buyers

In March 2022, the median list price of homes in Charleston was $164,900. That was a decrease of 4.9% year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

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

  • $4,950 for 3% down payment
  • $32,980 for 20% down payment

The City of Charleston has its own down payment assistance program called the Home Blend loan. And it looks more generous than the WVHDF’s offering. Most of the information you need is at that link, but you can also download a PDF brochure.

The maximum loan available is $27,000 in combined down payment and closing costs assistance. But not all borrowers will qualify for that much.

That loan is a silent and forgivable second mortgage. So you don’t pay any interest and don’t make monthly payments. Better yet, the loan is forgiven at the end of 10 years.

However, note a critical condition: “Clients must occupy the property during the term of this loan. If the property is sold or the occupant moves prior to the 10-year expiration the remaining loan balance will become due and payable to the City of Charleston.”

Huntington first-time home buyers

In March 2022, the median list price of homes in Huntington was $135,000. That was an increase of 8.1% year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

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

  • $4,050 for 3% down payment
  • $27,000 for 20% down payment

Unfortunately, we could find no trace of a down payment assistance program on the City of Huntington’s website. You can, of course, apply under the WVHDF’s program. Or talk to your Realtor or loan officer about alternative local programs.

Morgantown first-time home buyers

In March 2022, the median list price of homes in Morgantown was $292,500. That was a decrease of 2.5% year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

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

  • $8,780 for 3% down payment
  • $58,500 for 20% down payment

We couldn’t find any recent mentions of down payment assistance on Morgantown’s website. You can check to see if there’s a current program by calling City Hall at (304) 284-7405. Otherwise, look to the WVHDF’s program or ask your agent and loan officer about other options.

Where to find home buying help in West Virginia

In addition to our selection, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides lists for statewide, regional, and local home buyer resources in West Virginia:

Statewide and regional WV first-time home buyer programs

WV first-time home buyer programs by City/Town

What are today’s mortgage rates in West Virginia?

You can see today’s live mortgage rates in West Virginia here.

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

And 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: Experian.com 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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    West Virginia First-Time Home Buyer – Finance Essence

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