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First-Time Homebuyers


Information for Homebuyers

The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) offers deferred loans and homeownership grants 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 1988, SDHC has helped more than 5,900 families and individuals buy their first homes.

*SDHC First-Time Homebuyer Program loans and grants cannot be used in conjunction with the Affordable For-Sale Housing Program.

In addition to City of San Diego, SDHC administers the following other programs for neighboring jurisdictions:

Each first-time homebuyer program administered by the San Diego Housing Commission has different eligibility requirements and features. See the program descriptions and guidelines below.

Program Funding Availability as of October 1, 2022
City of San Diego Down Payment & Closing Cost Assistance Funds available
City of San Diego Closing Cost Forgivable Loan Funds available
County Of San Diego Down Payment & Closing Cost Assistance Funds available
City of Chula Vista Down Payment & Closing Cost Assistance Loan Funds available
City of El Cajon Down Payment & Closing Cost Assistance Loan Coming Soon

Applying for the 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 for the appropriate jurisdiction (e.g., City of San Diego, County of San Diego etc.) found below under Forms and Documents.
  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 22 percent of the purchase price (based on the buyer’s need), 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 and pre-purchase counseling.

Closing Costs 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. May only be applied for in conjunction with the 3% Interest, Deferred-Payment Loan Program.

Closing Cost Forgivable Loan Program
Buyers earning no more than 100 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.

Assistance is forgiven at the end of 6 years as long as the property remains owner occupied and there are no further encumbrances.

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.

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 and pre-purchase counseling.

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

City of Chula Vista

Eligible families with incomes at or below 80 percent of AMI may apply for a 3 percent interest, deferred-payment loan of up to 22 percent of the purchase price (maximum loan of $120,000) to purchase a single-family home, townhome or condominium .  The loan may be used toward down payment and closing costs.

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 and pre-purchase counseling.

If you have additional questions, contact [email protected].

Forms & Documents

City of San Diego Guidelines

County of San Diego Guidelines

City of Chula Vista Guidelines

Area Median Income Chart

FTHB Program Summary Chart

Approved Home Inspectors

Homebuyer Education and Pre Purchase Counseling Providers

Participating Lenders

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