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How Can I Qualify For The First-Time Homebuyer Grant In Florida

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

The Florida housing market is one of the most lucrative real estate investment options in the United States due to the prime properties available and its rent and home prices growth. The hardest part of home ownership is saving up for a down payment. 

Homebuyers who are purchasing their first principal residence are generally considered first-time homebuyers. Federal and state governments often provide low down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers and special grants and tax credits. Loans and incentives are also available for first-time homebuyers from many lenders. 

Read on to learn more about buying a house in Florida and the various first-time homebuyer grants available to assist. 

What To Know About Buying A Florida City Home

There is a lot of money to be made in Florida's real estate market, but it is also very expensive. The real estate market in Florida is among the best in the country. 

If you are planning to buy a house in Florida or you already live there and are considering buying another home, you should know certain things you need to know about buying a house in Florida. This process may be familiar to you if you have purchased a home in Florida previously. 

Please review the contents of this post carefully if you are not a local of Florida, so you will be well prepared and understand the process. If you are a first-time homebuyer in Florida, there are certain things you should be aware of. 

In this guide, we will inform you about the things you should keep in mind when looking for your first home in Florida, what financing options you have, the incentives you'll get on your first home purchase, and the top cities you should consider if you want to relocate to Florida and buy your first home.

Florida City Buyer Stats You Should Know

The median sale price of a home in Florida in November 2022 was $391,300. This is 10% more than the median sale price last year. However, the number of houses sold in 2022 was down by 39.1% from last year. 

Regarding availability, the number of houses for sale in November 2022 was 132,490, which was 19.6% more than those available last year. However, the supply of new homes in the housing market in Florida in 2022 was 31,800 newly listed homes, down 18% from 2021. 

The growth rate in the sale price of homes in Florida's top 10 metropolitan areas ranges from 28.1% (Liberty Triangle) to 76.9% (Iona).

What Can I Do To Finance A Home In Florida?

The housing market in Florida has been making headlines as loads of people pack their bags and head south. Florida has led the country in net migration — people moving there from another state — for five years in a row, and the pandemic accelerated that population growth. 

The state's warm weather and relatively low cost of living make it attractive for retirees. A few grants are available for you if you are looking to finance a new home in Florida. The following grants can assist you with the down payment and getting a good mortgage plan. 

If you are homeless and pregnant, read our blog post on affordable housing for pregnant women

Florida Assist (FL Assist)

Using FL Assist, first-time homebuyers can borrow $7,500 at 0% interest on a deferred second mortgage to settle a conventional mortgage down payment. The maximum contribution to the borrowers' loan could be $10,000 if they qualify for one of the following loans: FHA, VA, or USDA. 

The borrower will not have to repay the debt until the home is sold, he or she moves, or they refinance. If you refinance these loans, you'll have to make a payment.

Florida Homeownership Loan Program (FL HLP)

The FL HLP assists first-time homebuyers with certain qualifications to purchase their own home. Grants for down payments, closing costs, deferred interest, and other opportunities are available to qualified applicants under the program. FL HLP offers 3% interest loans for down payments, and closing costs up to $10,000. Borrowers must repay the loan in full if they move, sell, or refinance in 15 years. 

Through the Florida Home Loan Program, over 300,000 Floridians have been able to purchase their own homes since 1997. A first mortgage applicant's debt-to-income ratio will be impacted by the monthly payment associated with this loan. 

To apply for this program, you must meet the annual income limit ($30,000-$88,700, depending on the county you live in), be a US citizen living in Florida for at least one year, have a minimum credit of 550, work at least 20 hours a week, and earn less than 115% of the AMI

HFA Preferred and HFA Advantage PLUS Second Mortgage

These forgivable second mortgages allow participants to borrow 3%, 4%, or 5% of the total loan amount for the down payment and closing costs. There are no payments, and the loan is forgiven at 20% a year over a five-year term.

The HFA Advantage and HFA Preferred mortgage Programs are popular for first-time homebuyers, as they can help borrowers save on insurance costs and CHFA's below-market interest rate. If you are not a first-time homebuyer, you may qualify for these mortgages if you purchase a home in a Targeted Area.

Major Florida Cities To Check Out If You're A New Homebuyer

Florida, otherwise known as the Sunshine State, is one of the best places to own a house in the US. Do the beaches have anything to do with it? That's certainly a plus, even if it's not true. 

A Florida house could be the perfect investment in real estate if you carefully choose your city and the type of house. The following are the major cities you should consider if you are a new homebuyer looking to purchase a property in Florida.


With single-family rental homes in Jacksonville, Florida, investors can earn better returns on investment than in other cities. Investing in Jacksonville can make money with its low home prices, high rental rates, and high appreciation rates, making it so appealing to investors. The Jacksonville real estate market is considered one of the top five hot markets for investors.


A nightlife lover who loves beaches, warm weather, and nightlife might enjoy Miami. Many industries and professions thrive in this region, including art, culture, commerce, and finance. It is one of the most populated areas in the country, even though the city has only 413,892 residents.


In Tampa, investors often come to the table with cash offers, making it one of the hottest markets in the country. The low cost of living in Tampa has made homeownership within reach for many buyers fleeing the overcrowding and inflated prices in other cities.

The city boasts a thriving job market and the hottest housing market in the US in 2022. Real estate values in Tampa are growing faster than anywhere else in the state, and it has ranked as one of the best cities in the country in terms of home values. The Tampa area has seen a 29% increase in home sales over the past 12 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some of the most frequently asked questions first-time home buyers have about the housing market in Florida and the benefits they'll receive if they decide to purchase a property in Florida. 

What incentives are there for first-time home buyers in Florida?

First-time homebuyers get the following incentives if they purchase a property in Florida. 

There are no income taxes in Florida, homeowners are not obligated to pay property tax. There are no estate taxes (payable upon property transfer due to an owner's death). You get property tax benefits if you buy a property in Florida and declare it your primary residence.

What is the income limit for down payment assistance in Florida?

Down payment assistance in Florida is available to those between 80% and 120% of the area's median income. A down payment assistance program is only available to those with incomes between $40,000 and $60,000. Accordingly, if the midpoint income for an area is $50,000, you must earn between $40,000 and $60,000.

Who qualifies for the first-time homebuyers program?

To qualify for a first-time home buyer grant in Florida, it is necessary that you did not own and have occupied a primary residence in the last three years to qualify for the first-time homebuyer program. An income below the area's median income is also a requirement, as is having a good credit score and qualifying for a lending program offered by a participating lender.

Florida is a very lucrative market for real estate investments due to the increasing prices and high rents. Florida offers different incentives to prospective first-time homebuyers, including tax incentives. 

If you are looking to purchase a home for the first time in Florida, you should take advantage of the different first-time home buyer grants in Florida that can assist you with down payments and closing costs. 

While Florida offers its own perks, Pennsylvania has enticing programs for first-time homebuyers too. Explore the benefits and options in our detailed Pennsylvania guide. Broaden your possibilities as you embark on your homebuying journey!

Check out the rest of the Gov-Relations resources if you need more information on government and private assistance programs to help with your living situation. If you need a tablet for work or school but cannot afford one, look at our article on how you can get a free tablet with EBT.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.

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