By Grant Edrington – Updated April 10, 2023
Are you looking to buy your first home in Colorado? As with any big step, the process can feel overwhelming at first. Thankfully, there are a wealth of resources and assistance programs in Colorado to help make the path to homeownership smoother.
Whether you’re looking for guidance on navigating the local real estate market or financial assistance with your down payment and closing costs, there are plenty of options available to first-time homebuyers in the Centennial State. Take some time to explore these programs and discover the support that’s available to help you achieve your dream of owning a home in Colorado.
Shopping for your first home in another state? Check out our full first-time homebuyer program guide here.
How Do I Qualify for First-Time Homebuyer Assistance in Colorado?
To qualify for first-time homebuyer assistance in Colorado, you’ll generally need to meet certain eligibility criteria, which can vary depending on the specific program you’re interested in. Those purchasing their first home in Colorado must:
- Be a first-time homebuyer, meaning you haven’t owned a home in the past three years
- Meet income limits, which can vary by county and household size
- Complete a homebuyer education course or counseling session
- Use the home as your primary residence
- Meet credit score and debt-to-income ratio requirements
2023 Colorado Home Buyer Statistics
As you’re planning to purchase your first home, it can be helpful to understand the current landscape. Here’s a closer look at recent home buying conditions in Colorado:
- Median listing price statewide for February 2023: $536,000
- Median time homes are on the market as of February 2023: 65 days
- Housing Affordability Index (HAI) for single-family homes: As of February 2023, the HAI for a single-family home in Colorado was 53. Higher numbers mean greater affordability based on a combination of factors including interest rates, median sales price and income by county. Housing affordability in Colorado is steadily on the decline, comparing February 2023 figures to February 2021 (with an HAI of 83) and February 2022 (with an HAI of 67).
Note: The Housing Affordability Index (HAI) measures how affordable a region’s housing is to its consumers. A higher number means greater affordability. For example, with an HAI score of 120, a family earning the median income has at least 120% of the income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20% down payment.
Colorado Housing and Finance Authority’s Program
The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) is a nonprofit organization that offers a range of programs and services designed to make homeownership more accessible and affordable for Colorado residents. CHFA’s first-time homebuyer programs include low-interest loans, down payment and closing cost assistance, and mortgage credit certificates, which can help supplement federal lending options like FHA loans.
In addition to providing financial support, CHFA also offers Homebuyer Education classes to help Colorado residents navigate the homebuying process and make informed decisions about their purchases.
You can also explore Divvy’s Guide to Home Buying Assistance Programs. We’re here to help!
CHFA Down Payment Assistance Grant
The CHFA Down Payment Assistance Grant is a program designed to provide financial assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers in Colorado. Qualified applicants can receive a grant of up to 3% of the home’s purchase price to put toward their down payment and/or closing costs.
To qualify for the program, applicants must have a mid-credit score of 620 or higher, contribute a minimum of $1,000 towards the purchase of the home, and attend a CHFA-approved homebuyer education course prior to closing. Additionally, total borrower income must sit below CHFA’s income limits, which vary by county, targeted area, and household size.
The program is available through participating lenders, and funds are limited, so interested homebuyers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
CHFA Preferred and CHFA Preferred Plus
If you’re a first-time homebuyer looking for a conventional loan option, CHFA’s Preferred program may be a good fit for you. This 30-year fixed-rate loan offers a low minimum borrower contribution of $1,000, which can be covered by a financial gift.
Additionally, the CHFA Preferred Plus program offers a second mortgage of up to 4% of the first mortgage amount, which can be applied to down payment, closing costs, prepaids, or principal reductions.
To qualify for either program, you’ll need a credit score of at least 620, must meet income and purchase price limits, use a participating lender, and complete a CHFA-approved homebuyer education course.
Colorado Mortgage Credit Certificate Program for Tax Reduction
The Colorado Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program is designed to help first-time homebuyers in Colorado reduce their federal income tax liability. An MCC program issues a tax credit equal to a portion of the mortgage interest paid each year, up to a maximum of $2,000 per year.
To qualify for the program, applicants must meet certain income and purchase price limits, as well as credit score and debt-to-income ratio requirements.
The program can be used in conjunction with CHFA’s first-time homebuyer programs and is available through participating lenders.
Mortgage Assistance Programs in Denver, Aurora, and Other Colorado Cities
For even more options, it’s worth exploring down payment assistance programs that may be available in your city or county. These programs can provide financial support to help cover the upfront costs of purchasing a home, making homeownership more accessible and affordable.
Here are a few you might want to check out:
- Aurora’s Down Payment Assistance Program
- Commerce City’s Down Payment & Closing Cost Assistance Program
- Denver’s Down Payment Assistance Program
- Fort Collins’ Homebuyer Assistance Program
- El Paso County’s Single Family “Turnkey Plus” Mortgage Program
Buy Your First Home with Divvy
For first-time homebuyers seeking affordable alternatives to traditional programs in Colorado, Divvy can help you find – and afford – the home of your dreams.
While Divvy isn’t an immediate path to purchasing a home, we offer a rent-to-own option with more flexible financial requirements compared to a traditional mortgage. You can choose one of our Divvy-ready homes to rent, or any other home for sale on the market, so long as it meets our quality standards and your approved budget.
Renting through Divvy helps you to save towards a down payment, all while living in a home that you can choose to purchase down the road. If you decide you don’t want to purchase your home after the period ends, you can keep your savings, minus a 2% relisting fee or any other unpaid costs.
Don’t let the constraints of traditional programs and lenders limit your options — learn more about Divvy and how it works.
Note: Divvy is not affiliated with the first-time homebuyer programs mentioned in this article. Be aware that requirements for these programs may change. We recommend consulting with a lender or real estate agent when evaluating first-time home buyer programs.
Colorado First-Time Home Buyer FAQs
How much do first-time homebuyers have to put down in Colorado?
The amount first-time home buyers need to put down in Colorado varies based on the lender and loan program but can range from as little as 3% to 20% of a home’s purchase price.
Does Colorado offer down payment assistance?
Yes, Colorado offers a variety of down payment assistance programs to help first-time homebuyers cover their upfront costs. These programs include the CHFA Down Payment Assistance Grant, the Aurora Down Payment Assistance Program, Commerce City’s Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program, and the Denver Down Payment Assistance Program. These programs can include grants, low-interest loans, and mortgage credit certificates.
How much money do you need to buy a house in Colorado?
The amount of money you need to buy a house in Colorado will depend on a variety of factors, including the purchase price of the home, your down payment, and closing costs. Additionally, you may need to factor in expenses like property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.
What is the income limit for down payment assistance in Colorado?
The income limit for down payment assistance in Colorado can vary by program and location. Eligibility is often based on the area median income, and certain programs may have specific income caps or restrictions based on household size.
What program is best for first-time homebuyers in Colorado?
The best program for first-time homebuyers in Colorado will depend on your individual circumstances and needs. Some of the most popular options include CHFA’s FirstStep and SmartStep programs, the Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus program, and local down payment assistance programs offered by cities and counties.
Can you buy a house in Colorado with no money down?
What credit score do you need for Colorado first-time homebuyers?
The required credit score for Colorado first-time homebuyers can vary based on the lender and loan program. However, many lenders prefer to work with borrowers who have a credit score of at least 620, although some loan programs may require a higher score. It’s important to check with your lender to determine their specific credit score requirements.
- Colorado Association of Realtors Housing Reports: Statewide Report, Single Family and Townhouse-Condo; February 2023 (https://car-co.stats.showingtime.com/docs/mmi/x/Statewide?src=page)
- Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA): Homebuyer Education (https://www.chfainfo.com/homeownership/homebuyer-education)
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development: Loans (https://www.hud.gov/buying/loans)
- Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA): Down Payment Assistance (https://www.chfainfo.com/homeownership/down-payment-assistance)
- Colorado Housing and Finance Authority: CHFA Preferred / CFA Preferred Plus (https://www.chfainfo.com/getattachment/735fcbbb-d6da-4fde-a7be-bc44a3ac6372/CHFA_PreferredPurchase_matrix.pdf)
- Colorado Mortgage Credit Certificate Program (https://www.chfainfo.com/homeownership/current-mcc-holders)
- Aurora Down Payment Assistance Program (https://www.auroragov.org/residents/home_improvement/down_payment_assistance)
- Commerce City Down Payment & Closing Cost Assistance Program (https://www.c3gov.com/living-in/housing-authority/down-payment-closing-cost-assistance)
- Denver’s Down Payment Assistance Program (https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/housing-information/news/2020/CHAC-DPA.html)
- Fort Collins’ Homebuyer Assistance Program (https://www.fcgov.com/socialsustainability/hba)
- El Paso County’s Single Family “Turnkey Plus” Mortgage Program (https://admin.elpasoco.com/economic-development/single-family-turnkey-mortgage/)
Grant is a member of the marketing team and focuses on connecting aspiring homeowners in our metros with Divvy. He's worked on marketing teams spanning all parts of the homeownership journey, including home loans, power tools and home improvement, siding and flooring, and now Divvy. Grant graduated from Villanova University and became a homeowner in 2021.