What to know about buying a house in Oklahoma

As an Oklahoma first-time home buyer, you’re in a relatively lucky position. Average home prices statewide are substantially lower than in most other states.

Not to mention, Oklahoma has special programs to help first-time home buyers who need an extra hand saving up to buy a home.

The state and other organizations offer special mortgages, homebuyer education courses, and sometimes even cash toward your down payment. Here’s what you should know.


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Oklahoma home buyer overview

In February 2022, the median list price in Oklahoma was $170,490 according to Zillow. That was an increase of 16.9% year-over-year.

Oklahoma home buyer stats

Average Home Sale Price in OK $170,490
Minimum Down Payment in OK (3%) $5,100
20% Down Payment in OK $34,100
Average Credit Score in OK1 692
Maximum OK Home Buyer Grant2 5% of sale price

Down payment amounts are based on the state’s most recently available average home sale price. “Minimum” down payment assumes 3% down on a conventional mortgage with a minimum credit score of 620.

If you’re eligible for a VA loan (backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs) or a USDA loan (backed by the US Department of Agriculture), you may not need any down payment at all.

First-time home buyer loans in Oklahoma

If you’re a first-time home buyer in Oklahoma with a 20% down payment, you can get a conventional loan with a low interest rate. And you never have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Of course, few first-time buyers have saved enough for 20% down. But the good news is, you don’t need that much. Not by a long shot.

Borrowers can often get into a new home with as little as 3% or even 0% down using one of these low-down-payment mortgage programs:

  • Conventional 97 — From Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. 3% down payment and 620 minimum FICO score. You can usually stop paying mortgage insurance after a few years once you reach 20% home equity
  • FHA loan — Backed by the Federal Housing Administration. 3.5% down and a 580 minimum credit score. But you’re on the hook for mortgage insurance until you refinance to a different type of mortgage, move, or pay off your loan
  • VA loan — Only for veterans and service members. Zero down payment is required. Minimum credit score varies by lender but often 620. No ongoing mortgage insurance after closing. These are arguably the best mortgages available, so apply if you’re eligible
  • USDA loan — For those on low-to-moderate incomes buying in designated rural areas. Zero down payment required. Credit score requirements vary by lender but often 640. Low mortgage insurance rates
  • OHFA loans — May include mortgage credit certificatesand generous down payment assistance. More information below

Note that government loan programs (including the FHA, VA, and USDA home loans) require you to buy a primary residence. That means you can’t use these loans for a vacation home or investment property.

Depending on the mortgage loan you choose, you could potentially get into your new house with minimal cash out of pocket.

These programs even let you use gifted money or down payment assistance (DPA) to cover the down payment and closing costs.

If you’re unsure which program to choose for your first mortgage, your lender can help you find the right match based on your finances and home buying goals.

Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs

The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) offers two types of mortgages: Gold and Dream.

  • Gold program — Requires you to be a first-time home buyer. Can be used with conventional and government loans
  • Dream program — Available to first-time andrepeat buyers. Can be used with conventional and government loans

It’s worth noting that teachers, first responders, and state employees are typically eligible for a discounted interest rate when they use one of OHFA’s loan programs.

To qualify for a Gold mortgage, you must:

  • Have an income below a cap that varies from county to county and by household size. Find your cap
  • Choose your lender from a list of those approved by the OHFA
  • Have a credit score of 640 or higher
  • Live in the home as your principal residence and occupy it within 60 days of closing
  • Agree a purchase price of $310,600 or less statewide

The OHFA’s website has an eligibility tool to help you see if you qualify for one of its loans. Just answer a very few simple questions for an instant preliminary decision.

Although the OHFA doesn’t appear to require its borrowers to undergo home buyer education courses, those are always a good idea for newbies. And the Oklahoma Association of Community Action Agencies runs workshops that provide the information you need.

The OHFA also offers mortgage credit certificates (MCCs), which can reduce your federal tax burden by up to $2,000 a year. And these can be valuable even if you take the standard deduction rather than itemize.

Oklahoma first-time home buyer grants

The OHFA offers Oklahoma first-time home buyers up to 3.5% of the purchase price in down payment assistance. You must be using one of OHFA’s mortgage programs (listed above) to qualify for this assistance. You can call (405) 419-8207 or email [email protected] for more details.

Meanwhile, REI Oklahoma says it offers a “gift of 3.5%, 4%, or 5% of the total loan amount” on FHA, VA and USDA loans. Or a “gift of 3.5% or 4% of the total loan amount” on Freddie Mac HFA Advantage” loans. Those are both grants that do not have to be repaid.

In addition, REI offers assistance of 3.5%, 4%, or 5% on Fannie Mae HFA Preferred mortgages. But that takes the form of a seven-year, forgivable, second mortgage.

Again, you need to confirm the details of this yourself by talking to one of REI’s approved lenders. But, typically, these second mortgages are “silent,” meaning you pay no interest and make no monthly payments. And, after seven years, the loan is forgiven in full.

REI is different from the OHFA and you’ll need to use its lenders, meet its eligibility criteria, and follow its rules to qualify. But it does sound attractive.

Buying a home in Oklahoma’s major cities

Only Oklahoma City saw home prices rise in 2021. They held steady in Tulsa that year and actually fell slightly in Norman. However, Tulsa remains the most affordable of the three when it comes to housing purchases.

Oklahoma City first-time home buyers

In February 2022, the median list price of homes in Oklahoma City was $257,100. That was an increase of 11.8% year-over-year according to Realtor.com.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $7,700 for 3% down payment
  • $51,420 for 20% down payment

The city government of Oklahoma City does not appear to offer down payment assistance to its residents. But the Community Action Partnership in the city does have a program.

It says its Oklahoma City HOME program covers up to $14,999 in down payment and closing cost assistance. This takes the form of a silent, forgivable, second mortgage. So you make no monthly payments and pay no interest. And, after seven years, the loan is forgiven, providing you continue to meet the rules.

Tulsa first-time home buyers

In February 2022, the median list price of homes in Tulsa was $209,900. Home prices had remained flat year-over-year according to Realtor.com.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $6,300 for 3% down payment
  • $41,980 for 20% down payment

The Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa says that, after you’ve completed an eight-hour home buyer education course, it can provide “a portion of the purchase price up to $5,000 toward your down payment and/or closing costs” through Housing Partners of Tulsa, Inc.

There are, as usual, income limits and home price caps. And you can find the details by clicking that link.

Norman first-time home buyers

In February 2022, the median list price of homes in Norman was $250,000. That was a decrease of 1.9% year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $7,500 for 3% down payment
  • $50,000 for 20% down payment

We could find no trace of a down payment assistance program on the City of Norman’s website. But, of course, you can apply for help from OHFA or REI, as can all eligible Oklahomans.

Where to find home buying help in Oklahoma

In addition to our selection, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides lists for statewide, regional, and local resources:

Statewide and regional Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs

Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs by city/town

What are today’s mortgage rates in Oklahoma?

You can see today’s live mortgage rates in Oklahoma here.

When you’re ready to start the home buying process, make sure you get personalized rate quotes from at least three mortgage lenders.

And don’t just look at advertised rates online; actually apply for preapproval and compare the interest rates and fees you’re offered. Because that’s the only way to know you’re getting the best deal possible on your new home loan.

1 Source: Experian.com 2022 study of 2021 data

2Based on a review of the state’s available DPA grants at the time this was written

The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.



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