First Time Home Buyer Grants in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania First Time Home Buyer Grants

Are you considering buying your first home in Pennsylvania? Would you like a free gift of money to help you purchase that first home? If you answered yes to these two questions, there is great news for you. The state of Pennsylvania provides free grant money for its residents who are first time home buyers and need help with the down payment and closing costs. This money comes in the form of state grants. This is free money that shouldn’t be passed up! The grant awards can be in the thousands of dollars. It will be well worth your time to educate yourself about the grant programs that the State of Pennsylvania provides.

Pennsylvania First Time Home Buyer Grants

The agency in Pennsylvania that provides closing cost and down payment help to first time home buyers is The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. While there are no outright cash grants, there is one program that is very close: HOMEstead. You can get a loan up to $15,000 to use for your down payment and closing costs. This loan has a zero percent interest rate and no monthly payments; it doesn’t have to be repaid until the house is sold or title transferred. In effect, you are getting a grant on the interest. If you kept the house for 30 years, this interest grant would amount to just under $21,000. To find out more about this great program, please visit the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency website page specifically describing the details. You can go to that page by visiting this website.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA or the Agency) offers home purchase loans with competitive interest rates and lower fees that carry a fixed interest rate for 30 years. To date, PHFA has assisted more than 142,000 families and individuals achieve the American dream of homeownership by providing funding totaling more than $9.9 billion. The Keystone Home Loan and HOMEstead Program are financed through the sale of mortgage revenue bonds, not tax allocations. Certain federal laws regulate the kinds of mortgages that can be offered and the borrowers who are eligible to receive them, and set other requirements such as maximum purchase price and income limits. Eligible buyers may also qualify for a down payment and/or closing cost assistance loan.

Homebuyers eligible for the HOMEstead program may qualify for up to $10,000 in downpayment and closing cost assistance in the form of a no-interest, second mortgage loan. HOMEstead funds are forgiven at 20 percent per year over five years for all loans closed on or after January 1, 2007. The minimum loan amount is $1,000. The first mortgage is provided by PHFA at the same rate as the Keystone Home Loan program.  A fee of one percent is applicable, but may be financed by the HOMEstead loan.

HOMEstead borrowers must meet the minimum downpayment requirement based on whoever is insuring or guaranteeing the loan. HOMEstead funds may provide the remainder of the downpayment and the closing costs. In certain cases, based upon family need, the funds may provide additional down money to make the property affordable to the buyer.

Here is the contact information for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency:

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency
211 North Front Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
Phone: 717.780.3800
Homeownership Programs: 717.780.3871

Federal First Time Home Buyer Grants

Besides the state programs, there are federal funds and grants available in Pennsylvania through the Homes and Communities program of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. On their website you’ll find complete grant information, application forms, description of available funds, as well as many other helpful tools.

Every potential buyer should investigate what they have to offer. You can visit the website by going here: US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Also, there is a website that has a complete list of all grant programs available through the United States Federal Government: You should put forth the effort required investigating to see how many individual grants you may qualify for. You can visit the website by going to and once there, simply search for more information.

Other Grants in Pennsylvania

In addition to the grant programs described above, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides home buyer assistance and grants in every state. There are multiple grant programs designed specifically for people that meet certain requirements, such as grants for people with disabilities so they can continue to live independently at home. It is worth visiting HUD’s website to see what assistance is currently available. For your convenience, simply go to this website.

Here is the contact information for the HUD office in Pennsylvania:

Philadelphia Regional Office
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3380
Phone: (215) 656-0500
Fax: (215) 656-3445

There are also these local programs:

Bucks County First Time Homebuyer Program (FTHB) (215) 598-3566
Carbondale First Time Homebuyer Assistance Program (570) 282-0280
Chester Economic Development Authority Moderate Income Homebuyer Assistance Program (MIHAP) (610) 447-7850
Chester Homebuyer Assistance Program (HAP) (610) 447-7850
Dauphin County First Time Home Buyers Program (FTHB) (717) 780-6250
Jeannette Down payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program (DAP) (724) 527-4000
Luzerne County The Growing Homeowners Initiative Program (GHI) (570) 824-4803
Pennsylvania Trehab Center Inc Homeownership Program (HP) (570) 278-5238
Philadelphia Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. Settlement Cost Assistance GRANT (215) 829-9899
Philadelphia Settlement Grant Program (215) 686-9706
Schuylkill County Schuylkill Community Action Closing Cost Assistance Program (CCAP) (570) 622-1995
Scranton Homebuyers Assistance Program (HAP) (570) 348-4168
York 3/2 Low, Moderate & Unlimited Income Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) (717) 854-1541
York County 3/2 Low Income Program (LIP) (717) 854-1541

About Jennifer Cribsly

I'm a former real estate broker who specialized in helping first time buyers be able to purchase a home. Now full time mom, part time real estate owner/investor.
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