Down Payment Assistance

There are several types of down payment assistance, use the tool below to learn about some of the types that exist. Specific down payment assistance programs will have their own eligibility requirements.
Meet with a Portland Housing Center HomeBuying Specialist to find out what programs might be a good fit for you. Register today to get started.



A 2nd mortgage creates an additional lien on your property. Unless they are forgivable, these funds need to be paid back. Deferred loans are typically paid back on sale, refinance or transfer of a property, while tandem loans have a regular monthly payment similar to a first mortgage loan.

Benefits: Depending on the second loan product the use of a second loan may increase the overall amount you can spend on a home or allow you to avoid paying (sometimes costly) mortgage insurance on your first mortgage.
Downsides: These funds are required to be paid back either within a certain timeframe or upon sale/refinance of your home.


Grant funds typically are a gift you can use for down payment or closing closts that does not need to be paid back.

Benefits: Typically do not need to be paid back.
Downsides: Usually a much smaller dollar amount than a second mortgage. Some grants may require partial or complete repayment if certain requirements are not maintained (i.e. maintaining the home as your primary residence).

Matched Savings

A special type of account that allows you to save for home purchase and have those savings matched at a particular rate for use on your down payment and closing costs.

Benefits: These funds can help you significantly increase your own savings for down payment and closing costs while developing good savings habits. These funds typically do not require repayment.
Downsides: Matched savings programs typically require a long term savings commitment and tend to be better for people who are at least 6 months from being ready to purchase.

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

Land Trusts create affordable homeownership by taking the cost of land out of the purchase price of a home. Home owners leasing CLT land enjoy the same benefits as other homeowners, but the CLT model controls the resale price of the home in order to preserve affordability for future borrowers.

Benefits: Land Trust homes typically exclude the price of the land, bringing the home price well below market value.
Downsides: The resale price of the home is typically controlled by the Land Trust to ensure continued affordability of the home.

Tax Incentives


Provides homebuyers with an annual tax credit, reducing federal income taxes owed as long as they have the loan and occupy the property.

Benefits: Reduces federal taxes to help homeowners more easily afford their monthly mortgage payments.
Downsides: The benefits of the program greatly depend on the homeowner's tax situation. When considering the MCC a Certified Public Accountant should be consulted to determine if the program would be a benefit.


A 10 year limited tax exemption program that can only be used for new construction where the builder has secured a Limited Tax Exemption

Benefits: The homeowner pays taxes on the land for only 10 years, not on the value of the structural improvements.
Downsides: The program is only available on new construction where the builder has secured the Tax Exemption.