South Carolina First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2021

Officially known as the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority, SC Housing works with lenders, home builders and government officials to assist first-time home buyers in the Palmetto State.

SC Housing offers low-income and low- to moderate-income residents down payment and closing cost assistance to help make homeownership happen.

National first-time home buyer programs

While not specially targeted to South Carolina residents, these national programs help first-timers across the U.S. make the leap into homeownership.

SC Housing highlights and eligibility requirements

SC Housing enables 30-year, fixed-rate FHA, VA, USDA or conventional loans with down payment assistance up to $7,000. Local lenders make the mortgages, according to SC Housing guidelines. Loan costs include a 1% origination fee.

Each loan program has its own list of details, but here is an overview of some common characteristics.


  • 30-year fixed-rate loans.

  • Down payment and closing cost assistance.

  • Reduced mortgage insurance premiums on some loans.


  • Completion of a home buyer education course is required for down payment assistance.

  • A minimum credit score of 620 may be required, depending on the program — though your qualifying credit score does not assure loan approval.

  • Borrowers can be first-time home buyers or repeat buyers, depending on the program.

SC Housing first-time home buyer programs

Summary: 2021 SC Housing first-time home buyer programs

  • SC Housing home loans are combined with assistance programs and include conventional, FHA, VA and USDA mortgages.

  • Forgivable down payment assistance up to $7,000 is offered.

  • Palmetto Home Advantage offers government and conventional loans at market rates with reduced mortgage insurance rates, even for repeat buyers.

Although these programs are administered by SC Housing, locally authorized lenders do the paperwork and have varying qualifying guidelines. Shop around and compare offers from lenders to get the best terms for your particular circumstance.

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