Home Purchase Assistance

Home Purchase Assistance programs provide interest-free and low-interest loans to qualified low–to moderate-income homebuyers, which may be used for down payment or closing costs. In some programs, the loans are forgivable over a number of years as long as the property remains the applicant’s primary residence for a given number of years. 


  • Provides down payment or closing cost assistance to qualifying homebuyers.
  • Loans are low-interest or interest-free.
  • Loans may be forgivable over a number of years.

In Practice

Washington, District of Columbia. The Home Purchase Assistance Program’s loans are awarded to a limited number of applicants each year, depending on funds allocated in the department’s budget. Loan amounts are determined by a combination of factors including income, household size and the amount of assets that an applicant can commit toward the purchase price of a home. In addition, all loan recipients are required to maintain their properties in compliance with D.C. housing codes.

State of California. The High Cost Area Home Purchase Assistance Program (HiCAP) is designed to help make homeownership a possibility for first-time homebuyers throughout the State of California. HiCAP is available only when combined with a CalHFA first mortgage program. HiCAP is a deferred-payment second loan – $12,500 in all CalHFA-defined high cost counties. In addition, CalHFA will permit homebuyers to use other CalHFA-approved down payment assistance loans or grants to help in the purchase of the home.

Alexandria, Virginia. In Alexandria, there is a homeownership assistance program available for households that meet the federal Section 8 Low Income limits who have lived and/or worked in the City of Alexandria for at least six months. This program is funded with CDBG and HOME monies and provides no-interest loans with repayment deferred for 99 years or until the property is sold, whichever comes first. In addition to down payment/closing cost assistance and below-market interest rates, the Homeownership Assistance Program also provides homeownership counseling to applicants and potential applicants.

Norfolk, Virginia. In the city of Norfolk, there is $5 million dollars available for qualified first-time homebuyers. This is funded by the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), the "Sponsoring Partnerships and Revitalizing Communities" (SPARC) program. The SPARC program offers qualified homebuyers in Norfolk an interest rate reduction up to 1% below VHDA’s going rate. Assistance provided on qualifying new or existing homes anywhere in the City of Norfolk. Some of the requirements of the program include that you be a first-time home buyer, earn less than VHDA maximum income guidelines, complete VHDA homeownership class and obtain a certificate.

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