Home Purchase Assistance Program

[Program currently unavailable]
This Portland Housing Bureau program offers down payment and closing costs assistance for first and non-first-time homebuyers looking to purchase a home within Portland city limits. Applicants work directly with Approved Lenders to access the homebuyer assistance.
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This program is currently unavailable. For other down payment options that you may qualify for, please see this list of community partners.

Eligibility and Terms

To apply for the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP), please contact an Approved Lender. See the document below for the full list.

Updated 8/23/2019

Homebuyer Eligibility & Requirements 

To qualify for the HPAP:

  • The buyer does not have to be a first-time home buyer

  • Borrowers may not have an ownership interest in another property at the loan closing.

  • First-Time homebuyers are required to complete Homebuyer Education

  • Buyer(s) income cannot exceed 140% AMI (currently $113,960) regardless of family size

  • No max household income

  • Borrower must contribute a minimum of $1,000 or 1% of purchase price, whichever is lower

  • Borrower contribution can come from gifted funds

  • Non-occupying co-borrowers and Co-signers are not allowed

  • Meet 1st Mortgage lender’s loan requirements

  • Have a minimum mortgage credit score of 620 (subject to lender approval)

Eligible Property Requirements

Eligible properties:

  • Must be located within the City limits of Portland, OR. See Portand Maps to confirm jurisdiction eligibility.

  • Are not limited to specific Portland Urban Renewal Areas.

  • Must be 1 unit primary residence, Condominiums, PUDs, & Townhomes

  • 2-4 units and manufactured homes are not eligible

  • No purchase price limit, but first mortgage loan limit of $453,100

Assistance Terms

  • Assistance is up to 7% of first mortgage

  • Assistance is wrapped up into a silent second mortgage which is forgiven monthly pro rata over 10 years

Homebuyer Education

The Home Purchase Assistance Program requires first-time homebuyers to complete HUD Approved Homebuyer Education. Portland Housing Bureau has partnered with the following agencies to provide Homebuyer Education:

African American Alliance for Homeownership

AAAH offers HUD-approved homebuyer education classes, one-on-one credit counseling, homebuyer coaching, Individual Development Accounts (matched savings plans), down payment assistance programs, referrals to related mortgage assistance programs, and foreclosure prevention counseling. AAAH also hosts an annual fair that addresses the needs of both homebuyers and homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure.

Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc

Provides affordable rental housing and self-sufficiency training to low-income families in north and northeast Portland including homebuyer education counseling and access to down payment assistance loan and related mortgage programs.

Asian & Pacific Islander Community Improvement Association

The APICIA hosts an annual homebuying fair and offers first-time homebuyer education and mortgage assistance programs throughout Portland.

Portland Housing Center 

The Portland Housing Center offers regular home buyer education orientations and workshops, financial management education, home buying and credit counseling, matched savings programs, pre-purchase loan document reviews, access to mortgage assistance programs such as down payment and closing cost assistance, first-time homebuyer loans, and post-purchase education.

Native American Youth And Family Services

Offers HUD-approved homebuyer education classes, financial fitness classes, homebuyer counseling, Individual Development Accounts (matched savings plans), down payment assistance programs, and foreclosure prevention counseling. NAYA Family Center also hosts an annual fair that addresses the needs of both homebuyers and homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure.

Hacienda Community Development Corporation

Hacienda offers bilingual HUD-approved homebuyer education classes, financial fitness classes, homebuyer counseling, Individual Development Accounts (matched savings plans), down payment assistance programs and foreclosure prevention counseling. Hacienda also hosts an annual fair that addresses the needs of both homebuyers and homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Portland Home Purchase Assistance Program?

The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) allows approved mortgage lenders the ability to offer home buyers financial assistance that can be used for down payment, closing costs, and prepaid mortgage insurance in exchange for charging an increased interest rate on their 30-year mortgage.

For example, compared to a 4% rate on a standard conventional loan, if a homebuyer were willing to accept a 5% on a conventional loan, they could receive $17,460 in assistance on a $300,000 purchase. The increase in interest rate would equate to an increase of about $173/mo in the principal and interest portion of their payment. The actual difference in the total monthly payment will depend on the borrower’s credit scores, loan type, and mortgage insurance amount. Homebuyers who are under 80% AMI will receive an additional .5%, and those under 50% AMI an additional 2% cash assistance without further raising in the interest rate.

What is the role of the City in the Home Purchase Assistance Program?

The City will act as a sponsor for lenders who wish to offer this product to their buyers. This is a Freddie Mac pilot product only offered to lenders who partner with a Housing Finance Agency (HFA), which is a government authority established to help meet the affordable housing needs of the residents in its jurisdiction. PHB was selected as one of 5 initial HFAs to be able to sponsor this program. Freddie Mac, as a government purchaser of mortgage loans, created this pilot because of the level of responsibility that HFAs are held to.

Similar to the Mortgage Credit Certificate program, having this program sponsored by PHB allows for a greater accountability of lenders to the community and increased loan options and purchase power to Portland area homebuyers.

Does the buyer have to pay back the assistance provided?

Repayment of the assistance is required if the Homeowner sells the home or transfers the title within the first 10 years of purchase. The assistance loan is forgiven monthly over a period of 10 years.

How is PHB supporting this program?

PHB is not providing funds to this program beyond staffing to support program development. PHB will be conducting ongoing evaluation of the program to ensure its effectiveness in meeting the City’s homeownership goals.

Does this program work with all kinds of mortgage loans?

Although the program can work with both Conventional and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, initially it will only be offered with Conventional financing.

What segment of homebuyers does this program help?

The HPAP is for buyers with incomes that exceed the limits of current assistance programs and have limited savings available for the home purchase. It is also for those homeowners who would like to purchase outside of urban renewal areas.

Is this a First-time Homebuyer program?

The HPAP is not a first-time homebuyer program, but it can only be used for the purchase of a primary residence (owner occupied) property in the city of Portland. Current homeowners who wish to use this program must either sell or transfer ownership of their current home prior to closing on the new home.

What are the income limits?

The HPAP program has an income limit of 140% AMI, as defined by HUD. Currently, for the year 2018, that dollar amount is $113,960 Also, the program only considers the income of the borrowers. It excludes the income of household members that are not on the loan.

What benefits do homebuyers get from this program?

Some of the benefits of the HPAP may include allowing homebuyers with limited savings to enter the market, lower monthly payments, and reduction in out of pocket costs for the homebuyer.

Can the program work with other mortgage assistance programs?

Yes. The HPAP can be layered with programs such as the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC), Home$tart, and Home Ownership Individual Development Account (IDA).

Does a similar product already exist on the private market?

Currently, there is not a mortgage loan product similar to the HPAP available to local mortgage lenders on the private market. There are loan options such as 100% financing or 80/20 loans which reduce the out of pocket expense of the homebuyer and charge premium interest rates, however they don’t provide assistance for down payment, closing costs, and prepaid mortgage insurance.

Is Homebuyer Education required?

Homebuyer Education is required for first-time home buyers.

How many homeowners will this program help?

The HPAP program is expected to help at least 100 to 200 homebuyers in the Portland area. However, considering there were about 4000 first time homebuyers in Portland, in 2016, that number could be much higher.


Ira Bailey

Program Coordinator