Although one of the smaller East Coast states, New Jersey has a vibrant population that calls it home year-round, and there are plenty of reasons why: historic resort towns, proximity and easy access to New York City, and miles of beaches, just to name a few. If you’re a first-time homebuyer tempted to relocate to New Jersey, the real estate prices might give you pause. Luckily the state has a number of statewide and local programs to provide some extra financial help even if you are building a home in New Jersey.
Who Qualifies as a First-Time Homebuyer in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, a first-time homebuyer is anyone who hasn’t owned a home within the last three years. Additionally, active military and retired veterans are often exempt from this requirement; just be sure to read all the fine print.
Statewide First-Time Homebuyer Programs
NJHMFA Down Payment Assistance Program
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) offers down payment assistance to qualified first-time homebuyers in the form of a $10,000 interest-free, five-year forgivable loan that requires no monthly payments. Participants must also be approved for an NJHMFA first mortgage loan. To get started, complete the Participating Lenders form or visit the NJHMFA website.
NJHMFA First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Program
This program provides a 30-year, fixed-rate, government-insured loan for first-time buyers that meet the income and family-size limits, as determined by where the home is located. General statewide limits can be found here, and Urban Target Area limits (which are slightly higher) are here. Visit the NJHMFA website for more information.
Statewide Non-First-Time Homebuyer Programs
Police and Firemen’s Retirement System Mortgage Program
As the program name describes, this resource is for police officers and firefighters working for New Jersey that have at least one year of creditable service. The loan is a fixed-rate, 30-year loan, with maximum amounts determined by Fannie Mae regulations. View the program’s fact sheet for more details.
First-Time Homebuyer Programs by Location
The Atlantic City Down Payment Assistance Program offers up to 10 percent of the sale price toward the down payment and up to $5,000 toward closing costs. Applicants must be employed within Atlantic City or have resided in the city limits for the previous 12 months. Additionally, for this program, first-time homebuyers are those who haven’t owned a home in the last two years. Income and sales price guidelines apply; visit Atlantic City’s website for more information.
Bergen County offers the American Dream Program for first-time homebuyers who live or work within the county limits. This zero percent second mortgage amount is determined based on the primary mortgage amount and the down payment. Additional down payment funds up to $10,000 are available through this program as well. Review the Bergen County website for more details and to apply.
The city of Camden offers a First-Time Homebuyer’s Program to assist with down payment and closing costs. The maximum amount of $15,000 (up to $5,000 of which can be used for closing costs) is awarded to eligible applicants. Criteria include household size, income, property sale price and completion of homebuyer education classes. Check out Camden’s Division of Housing Services for more information.
Cumberland County’s First-Time Homebuyers Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program is available for first-time homebuyers who meet the household size and income requirements. Up to $5,000 (depending on eligibility and savings) can be put toward down payment and/or closing cost expenses. Visit the Cumberland County website to learn more.
The Homebuyer Assistance Program of Essex County is available to support low-income homebuyers within the county limits. A no-interest, 15-year loan of up to $50,000 can be used toward down payment expenses, closing costs or a mortgage write down. Review the participating municipalities and complete the application request on the Essex County website.
Home shoppers looking to settle down in Gloucester County should consider the benefits of the Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance Program. Low- to moderate-income first-time homebuyers who can invest a minimum of 3 percent into a new home property can apply for a zero percent, $10,000 forgivable loan. Visit the Gloucester County website for more information and to apply.
Through the county’s Economic Development Corporation, homebuyers looking at Hudson County can apply for up to $15,000 in grant money to put toward down payment and/or closing costs. While the program is primarily geared toward veterans who are shopping for a home, non-veteran residents are guaranteed a portion of the grants, so you should apply regardless of military status. Review the income limits and apply through the HCEDC website.
If you’re looking to settle down in Mercer County, you’ll want to review its First Time Homebuyer Program. Up to $7,000 is available for approved applicants to put toward down payment and closing expenses. Income restrictions and maximum property values apply; view the program flyer for more details.
Residents of Middlesex County who have been living there for at least one year and are first-time homebuyers can apply for the Middlesex County American Dream Down Payment Program. There are income and property value restrictions; if approved, homebuyers will received a deferred repayment mortgage that is forgivable after five years of living in the home. Visit Middlesex County’s website for more information.
If you’ve been a Monmouth County resident for at least one year and are a first-time homebuyer, you’re eligible to apply for the county’s First-Time Homebuyers Program. If approved, homebuyers receive a deferred second mortgage of up to $10,000; after five years the loan is forgivable. Contact the Monmouth County Community Development office or visit their website for more details.
The First-Time Homebuyer Program in Ocean County allows homebuyers to apply for up to $10,000 in financial assistance. The loan is forgiven after six years and has lower bank fees and closing costs. Applicants must be Ocean County residents, and additional income limits and property value amounts apply. View the Ocean County Consortium’s guideline book for more information.
Passaic offers extensive support and information for home shoppers, including a First-Time Homebuyer Program. Applicants can receive up to $39,500 toward home buying expenses (not to exceed 10 percent of the property cost) in the form of a deferred loan. Completion of a homeowner education course is required, and there are limits on income and property values. Learn more about the program and apply through Passaic’s official website.
Through the American Dream Down Payment Initiative, first-time homebuyers who live or work Somerset County and purchase a home there can apply for up to $10,000 that is forgivable after five years of living in the home. Income limits apply for household size and property value maximums depending on location; visit Somerset County’s Community Development website for more information.
Relocate to the Garden State
Whether you dream of retiring to New Jersey in quiet Newark near the Big Apple or further down the Jersey Shore in Ocean City, New Jersey has plenty of financial programs to support first-time homebuyers, as well as plenty of safe cities to live. Check out the multitude of new-home listings across the state, and don’t forget to follow us on social media for everything you need to know about the home-buying process!
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.
Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Mia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.