2021 New York State First-Time Home Buyers

The New York State Mortgage Agency, or SONYMA, offers special programs for first time buyers who want to buy property in the state. If you haven’t owned a primary residence in the past three years, SONYMA considers you a first-time home buyer.

National home ownership programs

You do not need to be an Empire State resident to access these national programs. They are a good first step before moving on to state sanctioned initiatives.

SONYMA strengths and eligibility conditions

These SONYMA programs are offered to first-time home buyers in New York State and some regular buyers.

Strong points

  • Help with the down payment is offered.

  • Additional funds may be available for repairs and renovations.

  • Single-family and multiple-unit properties may be eligible, including condos and cooperatives.


  • Must meet county limits on household income and purchase price.

  • Good credit and stable employment required.

  • Borrower’s cash contribution of 1% to 3% of the purchase price.

  • Take a training course for home buyers.

New York State First-Time Home Buyers Programs

Summary: 2021 SONYMA first home purchase programs

  • Achieving the Dream offers a low down payment and reduced interest rate for low-income borrowers.

  • The Conventional Plus program offers cash assistance with relaxed loan terms.

  • The Low Interest Rate Program offers favorable interest rates on loans to low and moderate income borrowers.

  • Down payment assistance loans provide up to $ 15,000 in assistance.

  • The Homes for Veterans program helps military borrowers purchase a home, whether it’s their first or not.

  • RemodelNY combines purchase and renovation loans.

  • The Energy Star Labeled Home Program encourages energy efficiency upgrades.

  • The FHA Plus program provides down payment assistance on an already low down payment FHA home loan.

  • The Home Ownership Graduate Program provides down payment assistance to recent college graduates who are shopping in select New York State communities.

  • The Neighborhood Revitalization Program provides money and financial assistance to purchase and renovate vacant homes.

Remember, the lender you work with may have additional borrower requirements than those stated in any SONYMA assistance program. They can include credit score minimums or other credit qualifications. So, explore the programs that interest you, learn all you can, and then talk to a few lenders about the possibilities.

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