There are so many reasons to love the gorgeous state of Louisiana. Located in its southern sweet spot, this coastal state has so much to offer. Consider the miles of biking trails, hiking opportunities, not to mention the delicious creole cuisine and festive celebrations. If you are interested in buying your first home in this great state, you may find it intimidating to tackle your financial plan for the big investment.
Fortunately, the state of Louisiana offers several opportunities to help new and repeat homebuyers close the affordability gap. Several financial assistance programs are offered statewide, while others are limited to a specific city or parish (equivalent to a county in other states). Your dream home may seem slightly out of reach at first, but with the help of local and state financial assistance programs, you’ll be settling into your new home in no time. Here are several programs to help you start your research.
Who Qualifies as a First-time Homebuyer in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, an individual is generally considered a first-time homebuyer if they or their spouse have not owned a primary residence in the past three years. Additionally, a single parent who has only owned a previous home with a former spouse while married and any individual who is a displaced homemaker and has only owned a previous home with a spouse may also qualify.
In some cases, qualified veterans and individuals purchasing a home within a targeted area may qualify for first-time buyer programs. When researching each program, check the specific requirements to determine eligibility.
Statewide First-Time Buyer Programs
The following programs are available statewide to Louisiana residents.
Mortgage Revenue Bond Home Program
The Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) offers several statewide assistance for both first-time and repeat buyers. One program that is specifically for first-time homebuyers is the LHC Mortgage Revenue Bond Home Program (MRB), which offers down payment and closing cost assistance. Qualified applicants are subject to other restrictions such as income requirements, purchase price limits, and a minimum credit score. Visit the LHC website for details.
Mortgage Revenue Bond Assisted Program
Similar to the LHC Mortgage Revenue Bond Program, the LHC Mortgage Revenue Bond Assisted Program offers down payment and closing costs assistance for first-time homebuyers in the form of a soft-second loan that is equal to 4% of the mortgage amount. However, repeat buyers may also apply for this assistance if they purchase a home in a targeted area. Qualified borrowers must meet additional requirements, such as income and credit requirements, so be sure to check out the LHC website for more information.
Resilience Soft Second Program
The LHC Resilience Soft Second Program offers a soft second loan of 20% of the purchase price up to $55,000, and up to $5,000 for closing cost assistance for eligible first-time homebuyers. The loan amount is deferred and, if the homeowner occupies the residence for the full 10-year term, the second soft loan may be forgiven. This program is limited to homes in the Gustav/Ike and Isaac parishes. Income limits and other restrictions apply, so be sure to visit the website for details.
Mortgage Credit Certificate Program
The LHC Mortgage Credit Certificate Program (MCC) statewide program was created to assist first-time homebuyers, veterans and low to moderate income buyers purchase a home in designated areas. The MCC program gives homebuyers the opportunity to take a federal tax credit of up to 40% of their annual mortgage interest payments over the term of their loan – capped at $2,000 per year. By increasing the borrower’s disposable income, the MCC thereby increases the potential loan amount.
Income limits apply as determined by household size and property location. This program can be used in conjunction with LHC’s down payment assistance programs and can be layered with any first-time homebuyer loan product aside from the MRB programs.
Delta 100 Program
Louisiana residents who are purchasing their first home in the Delta Parishes (specifically, Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, Franklin, Madison, Morehouse, Pointe Coupee, Richland, Tensas, West Carroll, and Ouachita – excluding Monroe) may take advantage of the LHC Delta 100 Program.
This program is specifically for first-time homebuyers and provides a 30-year, 2% fixed interest rate mortgage to qualified applicants without a minimum credit score requirement. LHC also offers up to 100% financing and up to 3% prepayment and closing cost assistance to eligible homebuyers. Qualified applicants must meet minimum investment requirements and have sufficient cash reserves to participate.
Statewide Non First-Time Buyer Programs
While the above programs are strictly available for first-time homebuyers, there are other statewide programs to assist individuals looking to move from one home they have owned into another.
Market Rate Conventional Program
The LHC Market Rate Conventional Program is available for low to moderate income individuals and offers a conventional mortgage at a 30-year fixed rate for qualified borrowers. Additionally, participants may be eligible for up to 4% assistance for down payment, closing costs, or prepaid items. There is no first-time homebuyer requirement, but first-time buyers must complete a homebuyer education course. Eligible borrowers must meet specified income limits as determined by household or parish size. Credit requirements and other eligibility criteria may apply, so be sure to visit the website for more information.
Market Rate GNMA Program
The LHC Market Rate GNMA Program offers a 30-year, fixed-rate FHA, VA or USDA Rural Development mortgage at favorable interest rates for both new and repeat buyers. Similar to the Market Rate Conventional program, the Market Rate GNMA Program offers eligible borrowers up to 4% assistance for down payment, closing costs, or prepaid items. There is no first-time homebuyer requirement. Other eligibility criteria, such as income limits, purchase price maximum, and credit requirements do apply. To learn more, visit the website.
Homebuyer Programs by Location
In addition to statewide programs, there are often homebuyer assistance programs based in different cities and regions of a state. The programs below are opportunities for first-time buyers in Louisiana based on the city of residence.
Residents of the City of Alexandria may qualify for direct funding for down payments, rate buy-down assistance, principal reduction, closing costs and/or education training to purchase an existing home or new home within the Alexandria City limits. The Alexandria Homebuyer’s Assistance Program (HAP) is designed for first-time homebuyers whose income thresholds are 80% or below the median income level as determined by HUD. The amount of financial assistance provided will be determined by the homebuyer’s demonstrated need. Other requirements may apply, so check out the website for more information and how to apply.
Louisiana residents residing in Kenner may be eligible for additional funding to help them purchase their dream home. The Kenner First-Time Homebuyers Assistance Program offers eligible applicants of low to moderate income a deferred payment loan to be used for down payment and closing cost assistance, as well as reduce their primary mortgage loan amounts. This soft second mortgage is forgivable according to specific grant terms over a designated affordability period established by HUD. Applicants must be first-time homebuyers, but other restrictions may apply so check out the website for more information.
The City of Lake Charles offers multiple opportunities for low to moderate income first-time homebuyers to receive assistance with down payment and/or closing costs. Through the City of Lake Charles Community Development Programs, residents may apply for funds on a first-come, first-serve basis. While these funds are reserved for first-time buyers, there are a few additional exceptions such as qualified veterans, survivors of domestic violence and/or persons with disabilities who meet all other eligibility requirements. Visit the website for more information.
In the City of Monroe, residents may be eligible for financial assistance through the Monroe Community Development Programs. Assistance programs are made possible through the City’s partnership with federal programs such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Eligibility is limited to individuals of low to moderate income and may have additional requirements. Visit the website for more information and to see if you may be eligible to apply.
The City of New Orleans is certainly an exciting community for new residents. If you plan to purchase your first home in the City, consider checking out the Own New Orleans Program through Finance New Orleans. This program provides down payment assistance options which are bundled with your first mortgage, and is available for both first-time and repeat buyers. Check out the website for additional information and eligibility criteria.
Residents of the City of Shreveport may be eligible for the Home Buyers Assistance Program Participation Initiative (HAPPI) if they are low to moderate income first-time homebuyers. Eligible participants may receive down payment, buy down, and/or closing cost assistance through approved local lenders. Other eligibility criteria may apply, so be sure to review additional qualifications on the website.
In Terrebone Parish, the Terrebone Parish Community Development Programs provide assistance for new homeowners through the government’s association with federal programs such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships. Eligibility is limited to individuals of low to moderate income and may have additional requirements. Visit the website for more information and eligibility criteria.
In Jefferson Parish, first-time homeowners may be eligible for the Jefferson Parish First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program and/or the Down Payment Assistance Program. This program offers assistance in the form of a second mortgage to help new homeowners with low to moderate income obtain a home. Income limits and other restrictions apply. Visit the website for more information and learn how to apply.
Additionally, residents of Jefferson Parish, St. Charles, St. Tammany, and St. Bernard Parishes, may be eligible for the Southern Mortgage Assistance Program. This program provides a competitive, 30-year fixed rate mortgage with 3% or 4% assistance grant to put towards down payment or closing costs. There is no first-time homebuyer requirement with this program, but other eligibility criteria may apply so visit the website for more information.
Purchase Your Dream Home
Whether you are planning to purchase your first home or considering relocating into a new home, Louisiana is the perfect place for your next adventure. Hopefully, these programs will give you a launching pad so you can start researching additional financing opportunities. Before you know it, you’ll be settling into your dream home and ready to let the good times roll!
The links on this site were researched by NewHomeSource. This is as cohesive a list as possible. Individual homebuyers should contact entities to fully understand requirements and processes.
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Melanie Theriault is a writer, counselor, and lifelong learner. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Southwestern University, where she discovered her passion for fostering human connection through storytelling.