First-time home buyer in New York


What you need to know to buy a house in New York

Buying a home in New York can be very different depending on where you want to settle. Buying in and around New York, for example, will cost a lot more than a remote location in upstate New York.

Regardless of the location, first-time home buyers in New York State have a lot of help available to them.

This can range from free training courses and advice to financial help for your down payment and closing costs. Here’s how to get started.

Check Your Eligibility to Buy a Home in New York (July 8, 2021)


In this article (Skip to …)


Overview of homebuyers in New York

The median price of homes in New York State was $ 370,000 in April 2021. But that covers a huge range in different places in the Empire State.

For example, the median price in St. Lawrence County that month was $ 93,500. But in Manhattan, it was $ 1.1 million. And that means where you buy can be much more important than statewide averages.

Overview of homebuyers in New York
Average selling price of a house in New York $ 370,000
Minimum deposit in New York (3%) $ 11,100
20% deposit in New York $ 74,000
Average credit score in New York1 718
Maximum Grant for New York Home Buyers2 $ 30,000 forgivable loan, available statewide through SONYMA’s DPAL Plus program

Down payment amounts are based on the state’s most recent average selling price. The “minimum” down payment assumes a 3% down payment on a conventional mortgage with a minimum credit score of 620.

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

Check Your Eligibility to Buy a Home in New York (July 8, 2021)

New York First-Time Home Buyers

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

Of course, few first-time buyers have saved 20 percent. But the good news is, you don’t need a lot of them. Not even close.

New York homebuyers can often save money up front by using one of these low down payment mortgage programs:

  • Conventional 97 – From Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. 3% down payment and minimum credit score of 620. You can usually stop paying mortgage insurance after a few years.
  • FHA loan – Supported by the Federal Housing Administration. 3.5% down and a minimum credit score of 580. But you are obligated to take out mortgage loan insurance until you refinance with another type of mortgage, move out, or pay off your loan.
  • VA loan – Only for veterans and military. No deposit is required. Minimum credit score varies by lender, but often 620. No mortgage insurance outstanding after closing. These are arguably the best mortgages available, so apply if you qualify.
  • USDA loan – For low to moderate income people who shop in designated rural areas. No deposit required. Credit score requirements vary by lender, but often 640.
  • SONYMA mortgages – The New York State Mortgage Agency offers low cost loans and the option of down payment assistance to qualified borrowers. More info below

Depending on the mortgage you choose, you could potentially move into your new home with minimal cash out of pocket.

These programs even allow you to use donated money or down payment assistance to cover the down payment and closing costs.

If you are not sure which loan program to choose, your loan officer can help you find the right program based on your finances and your home buying goals.

New York First-Time Home Buyers Programs

The New York State Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) offers statewide assistance to first-time home buyers in New York. This includes affordable mortgages as well as down payment assistance.

For example, his Acheiving the Dream program is a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with only 3% down. And you only have to pay 1% out of your pocket; the remainder may come from down payment assistance (excluding cooperative buyers).

There are certain eligibility conditions to be eligible for SONYMA programs, including:

  1. Consistent and verifiable income going back two years
  2. “Decent” credit score (unspecified) – Probably 580 or 620, depending on the type of loan you want
  3. Sufficient income to live comfortably and cover the costs of homeownership
  4. Within the household income ceilings and purchase price ceilings
  5. You will use the house as your primary residence

SONYMA has a list of approved mortgage lenders; you will need to obtain a home loan from one of these to fully participate in its programs.

The agency also says it will connect you with “New York State nonprofit housing counseling agencies to help you navigate the home buying process and prepare. to successful home ownership through one-on-one counseling, training courses for homebuyers, workshops, etc. “

Find the best first-time buyer credit for you (Jul 8, 2021)

New York First-Time Home Buyers

SONYMA offers two Down Payment Assistance Loans (DPALs) that are available statewide.

Although these are loans rather than grants, both have no monthly payments and charge no interest. Better yet, they are forgiven after 10 years.

This means that you don’t have to pay back a dime as long as you stay in the house for a decade. If you move, sell, or refinance this home before the 10-year end, you will need to pay back 1 / 120th of the amount you borrowed for each month under the 120 months of the past 10 years.

Standard DPAL allows you to borrow 3% of the purchase price (up to $ 15,000) or $ 3,000, whichever is greater.

DPAL Plus

The “DPAL PLUS” pilot program only opened for applications on April 29, 2021 and is all in all more generous. With this program, you can borrow up to $ 30,000 for your down payment and closing costs.

However, the amount you borrow is capped at 20% of the purchase price of your home. By paying 20%, you get a conventional loan without any mortgage insurance payments – ever. And that’s a huge advantage.

With DPAL Plus, your income cannot exceed 60% of the median income of the area (AMI) where you buy.

Not sure if you qualify? Download this PDF from the SONYMA website for the maximum allowable income per county.

Note that DPAL Plus has limited funding. When it runs out of money, the program will be suspended until new funds are provided. So, if you want to take advantage of it, quickly submit your application.

Other options

SONYMA just might turn out to be your best bet for down payment assistance. But be sure to check out other homeownership programs in the area where you want to buy.

Resources for finding local grants are listed at the end of this article. You can also ask your real estate agent, real estate agent or loan officer for down payment assistance programs near you.

Buying a home in major cities in New York

Even between the major cities of the Empire State, there are large variations in real estate prices and mortgage payments. Here’s what to expect.

New York First-Time Home Buyers

The median price for real estate listings in New York City was $ 799,000 in May 2021, according to Realtor.com. It hasn’t changed from year to year.

If you want to buy a home at this median price, your down payment options may be between:

  • $ 23,970 for a deposit of 3%
  • $ 159,800 for a deposit of 20%

Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Inc (NHSNYC) offers 15-year repayable loans to help you close the gap between your savings and your down payment requirement. But you have to make monthly payments and interest is charged on the loan amount.

The NHSNYC also offers a series of online training courses for home buyers, as well as a free initial consultation.

First-time buyers in Buffalo

The median price for real estate listings in Buffalo was $ 158,000 in May 2021, according to Realtor.com. This was up 21.6% year-on-year.

If you want to buy a home at this median price, your down payment options may be between:

  • $ 4,740 for a deposit of 3%
  • $ 31,600 for a deposit of 20%

Belmont Housing Resources offers extensive advice and coaching to owners of Buffalo. It can also provide financial assistance of up to $ 5,000 for down payments and closing costs.

However, its website does not provide any information as to whether it is a repayable loan, forgivable loan, or grant. It also does not provide any information or eligibility conditions. Your best bet is therefore to call a Belmont advisor at (716) 884-7791.

First-time home buyers in Rochester

The median price for real estate listings in Rochester was $ 147,000 in May 2021, according to Realtor.com. This was up 13.2% year-on-year.

If you want to buy a home at this median price, your down payment options may be between:

  • $ 4,410 for a deposit of 3%
  • $ 29,400 for a deposit of 20%

The Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation’s website states that it offers help with closing costs as well as a range of counseling services to homebuyers. But, again, the site doesn’t provide more details. Then call (585) 461-4263 for more information.

Where to Find Help Buying a Home in New York

All of the organizations we’ve listed above should provide free advice to any first-time home buyer in New York State.

In addition to our selection, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides some statewide, regional, and local resource listings:

Resources for New York First-Time Home Buyers by City / Region:

What are the mortgage rates today in New York?

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

When you’re ready to buy, make sure you get interest rate quotes from at least 3 to 5 lenders. This actually means applying and getting a personalized estimate, not just checking the rates advertised online.

Mortgage interest rates vary a lot depending on the borrower. So shopping can easily save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on your home purchase. And that often only takes a few hours.

Ready to start?

Check your new rate (Jul 8, 2021)

1 Source: Experian.com 2021 study on 2020 data

2Based on a review of available DPA grants from the state at the time of writing this article


Comments are closed.