First-Time Homebuyers

The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) offers deferred loans, homeownership grants, and mortgage credit certificates to help low- and moderate-income families buy their first homes.

The SDHC First-Time Homebuyer Program can assist with the purchase of a single-family home, townhome or condominium in the City of San Diego.

This program is funded primarily through Federal U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOME Investment Partnerships Program grants to the City of San Diego that are administered by SDHC.

Additional funding sources include Federal Community Development Block Grant funds, State CalHome Program funds, and City of San Diego Affordable Housing Funds.

Since the program began on August 13, 1990, SDHC has helped more than 5,000 families and individuals buy their first homes.

In addition, SDHC administers the County of San Diego’s First-Time Homebuyer Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program. This County Department of Housing and Community Development Program serves the unincorporated areas of the county as well as the cities of:

  • Carlsbad
  • Coronado
  • Del Mar
  • Encinitas
  • Imperial Beach
  • La Mesa
  • Lemon Grove
  • Poway
  • San Marcos
  • Santee
  • Solana Beach
  • Vista

The City of San Diego and County of San Diego first-time homebuyer programs have different eligibility requirements and features.

Watch a First-Time Homebuyer Story

Apply for the SDHC (City) or County of San Diego First-Time Homebuyer Programs

  1. Review San Diego’s Area Median Income (AMI) limits to confirm your household annual gross income (before taxes) does not exceed the limit for your family size. This includes the income of all adult household members.
  2. Review the program descriptions and guidelines.
  3. Contact a loan officer from our Participating Lender list. The loan officer will be the primary point of contact from pre-approval to loan closing. The loan officer collects all required documentation and submits the application on the borrower’s behalf to SDHC.
  4. Attend a Homebuyer Education Course with an SDHC approved provider.
  5. Work with a real estate agent to find a property.

City of San Diego

3% Interest, Deferred-Payment Loan Program
Eligible buyers earning no more than 80 percent of San Diego’s AMI may qualify for a deferred-payment, second trust deed loan of up to 17 percent of the purchase price, with the interest rate set at 3 percent.

No payments are required for 30 years, unless the owner sells or no longer occupies the home as a primary residence, at which time the principal balance, including accrued interest, must be repaid.

To qualify, the buyer must obtain a fixed-rate first trust deed loan; have adequate income, a good credit rating; and provide a minimum down payment of 3 percent. Applicants also must attend a homebuyer education class.

Homeownership Grant Program
Buyers earning no more than 80 percent of San Diego’s AMI are eligible for closing cost assistance of up to 4 percent of the purchase price, not to exceed $10,000.

Homeownership Grant funds for closing cost assistance will be forgiven at escrow closing.

Mortgage Credit Certificate
Qualified homebuyers with income not exceeding 140 percent of San Diego’s AMI may claim a Federal income tax credit of 20 percent of the annual interest paid on their mortgage. The tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the homebuyer’s Federal tax liability that increases the household income available to qualify for a mortgage loan and make monthly mortgage payments. Buyers may be subject to a recapture tax if they sell the home within the first nine years.

County of San Diego

Eligible families with incomes at or below 80 percent of AMI may apply for a 3 percent interest, deferred-payment loan of up to 17 percent of the purchase price for down payment plus up to 4 percent of the purchase price for closing costs to purchase a single-family home, townhome or condominium in one of the County of San Diego program areas.

All buyers interested in applying for assistance under the County of San Diego program must apply through an SDHC-approved lender.

Forms & Documents

3% Interest Deferred Payment Loan Program Guidelines

3% Interest Deferred Payment Loan Program Guidelines (County of San Diego)

Approved Home Inspectors

Area Median Income

FTHB Program Summary Chart

Homebuyer Education Providers

Homeownership Grant Guidelines

Participating Lenders

Mortgage Credit Certificate Information Packet

Mortgage Credit Certificate Program Guidelines (City of San Diego)

Let's get you there…

I am looking for…