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

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

Last year, the New Jersey housing market was characterized by bidding wars and an invention ry shortage. Mortgage rates have been historically low for years, attracting homebuyers like never before. 

The combination of these factors led to several homes in New Jersey selling for more than their initial prices. Due to growing home prices, investors in the state are making money from the housing market.

As a new home buyer in New Jersey, we will guide you through what you should be aware of when purchasing your first home. If someone you know is an ex-felon looking for an apartment, read our guide to finding apartments that accept felons.

What To Know About Buying A New Jersey City Home

You've made the right decision by choosing New Jersey to buy your house. There are several new constructions and developments in the area. Historic buildings are also waiting to be discovered. The Statue of Liberty, top-rated schools, and restaurants that rival those in New York complete the picture of Jersey.

New Jersey offers big-city excitement, beach waves, and all the in-between, whether you prefer the serenity of Cape May or the grand view of the Manhattan skyline across the Hudson. There has been a 10.7% increase in home prices in New Jersey over the past year, with a median home price of $471,650.

If you are a disabled veteran with no house to call home, you should check out our blog post on housing options for disabled veterans

New Jersey Buyer Stats You Should Know

Among the most expensive neighborhoods in the city are also the most desirable ones. Among the many attractions of New Jersey homes for sale are the breathtaking waterfront, stunning brownstones, and various arts venues. 

There are cheaper properties and rents in New Jersey than in NYC. Residents of Jersey City are increasingly renting rather than owning their homes, making the city a great market for rental property owners. Here are some key New Jersey statistics you should consider when buying a home.

  • Jersey City's population has increased by more than 18% in the last decade, making it the state's second-largest city. 
  • The per capita income in New Jersey is $44,761, and the median household income is $76,444. 
  • Jersey City's home values have grown 35.0% in the past five years. 
  • says a single-family home in Jersey City currently costs $645,000 on average. 
  • According to Zumper, a 3-bedroom home in Jersey City was rented for $2,725 per month on average in June 2022.

What Can I Do To Finance A Home In New Jersey?

What Can I Do To Finance A Home In New Jersey?

Buying a home can initially seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Real estate prices in New Jersey are relatively high, making it difficult to purchase your first home. 

Yet plenty of first-time home buyer programs in New Jersey are available to help. There are many first-time homebuyer programs and special mortgages available in New Jersey. 

Down payment assistance and educational courses are also available. The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) offer various programs to help prospective homebuyers with the mortgage process. 

NJHMFA's Mortgage Programs

An NJHMFA expert can guide you step by step and provide accessible tools to make the right home purchase decision. A guide for the New Jersey homebuyer will help you navigate your way to affordable homeownership if you want to get an idea of what the home-buying process is like. 

There is also a Spanish version of the guide. Complete NJHMFA's request form to find an NJHMFA-approved lender near you. The organization will connect you with up to three lenders. To help aspiring homeowners achieve their dream of homeownership, NJHMFA-approved lenders offer the Down Payment Assistance Program.

Police and Firemen's Retirement System Mortgage Program

Police and Fire Mortgage is available to police officers and firefighters with a minimum of 1 year of creditable service and is a member of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System. Refinances are not permitted on this mortgage; only purchases are allowed. In addition, only active members are eligible for the program, and it does not offer mortgages to retired members.

There will be two rate changes per year. Updates to the interest rate are released on February 15 and August 15 every year. Treasury bills are used to calculate mortgage rates plus 1%. A 6-month rate lock will be provided to clients when they locate a home and begin the rate lock process. This rate will remain the same for the duration of the mortgage once you close.

To be eligible for a loan, you must possess a one- or two-family residence or condominium located in or adjacent to the State of New Jersey within 120 days of closing and be able to remain in residence throughout the term of the loan. Fannie Mae determines the maximum mortgage amount. Jumbo loans are not available for police and fire mortgages. Mortgages up to $647,200 are currently allowed.

HFA Advantage Mortgage Program

A housing finance agency (HFA) offers mortgages in partnership with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other financial institutions. A conventional 30-year loan with a fixed interest rate is available to New Jersey homeowners through NJHMFA's HFA Advantage Mortgage Program. With an HFA Advantage Mortgage Program, NJHMFA Down Payment Assistance (DPA) can provide affordable mortgage insurance.

Homeward Bound Program

Homeward Bound Mortgage Program of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) provides homebuyers with an attractive, 30-year fixed-rate, government-insured mortgage. A Down Payment Assistance Program (DPA) may be combined with the Homeward Bound Mortgage Program.

Down Payment Assistance (DPA) is a homebuyer assistance program offered by NJHMFA that helps qualified homeowners with down payments and/or closing costs. Unlike traditional loans, the DPA has no interest rates or monthly payments. 

When the beneficiary of this loan continuously maintains a permanent residence at the property for five years, the DPA may be forgiven. 

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

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

New Jersey is a bustling state known for its rich culture, delicious foods, and beautiful boardwalks. You will have ample opportunities to find the perfect place to build your home, even if it's your first home, whether you prefer strolling the beaches in Ocean City, tasting wines at local wineries, or retiring to a wildlife refuge. 

There are more people in New Jersey than in any other state in America, as it is between New York City and Philadelphia. You should consider who you are and what you want before you decide where to live in New Jersey. 

Two of the country's largest cities are nearby, and Jersey has a lively nightlife, a diverse culture, farmland, and a wide range of outdoor activities. The state of New Jersey has something for everyone, no matter how you commute to NYC or Philadelphia or want to live close to a large city.

If you want to buy your first home in New Jersey, the following cities are the best options. 

Jersey City

In recent years, Jersey City has been attracting more and more people because of its affordable property prices and high quality of life. Jersey City is experiencing a real estate boom, while New York City is experiencing a decline in property values. 

There has been an 18% increase in the population of Jersey City over the past decade. The city's quality of life and employment opportunities attract buyers and renters from around the country. The median property listing price in Jersey City in June 2022 was $649,900


Newark is an incredible place to live, with tons of new trendy restaurants and bars, numerous attractions and parks, and reliable public transportation to anywhere in the city. There is a wide variety of home and rental options available in many areas and spaces. A median listing price of $449,000 for a home was found on for Newark in June 2022.


The county seat of Mercer County is Trenton, the capital of the US state of New Jersey. Healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and finance are among the industries in Trenton's vibrant economy. In addition to restaurants, bars, and stores, the city offers a variety of shopping options. Trenton's diversity and opportunities make it a great place to live. Living and working here is a great experience. The average home price in Trenton in November 2022 was $192,500.

Atlantic City

Atlantic City real estate is less expensive than anywhere else in New Jersey and cheaper than any other beach town in the country when it comes to buying a home. Atlantic City has been the most affordable beach town in the United States for the second consecutive year. Homes listed for sale in Atlantic City have an average price tag of $190,000, which is about 35% of the average home value in New Jersey.


Paterson sits in Passaic County, on the northernmost edge of the state. Two of its areas have seen the most rapid growth in New Jersey. Population growth is also expected to continue exponentially in the city. The city's public services and infrastructure will benefit from increased federal funding due to the increase in population. 

Property listings in Paterson were listed at an average of $399,900 on June 20, 2022. A rapid appreciation is occurring in Paterson's real estate market. Zip codes 07501 and 07522 are among the state's fastest-appreciating. A 32% increase in real estate value has been recorded in one zip code, while a 26% increase has been recorded in another.

Frequently Asked Questions

As with any major financial decision you have made over the years, you must have some questions on your mind when looking to purchase your first home in New Jersey. The following are frequently asked questions from first-time homebuyers in New Jersey.

What is the best option for first-time home buyers?

Due to the federal government's backing of FHA loans, they are considered to be more secure than conventional loans. If you're a first-time home buyer with a low credit score and limited savings, you may qualify for one of these mortgages.

What is a first-time buyers' grant?

First-time home buyer grants provide cash rewards to new Americans who purchase their first home. The government awards grants at all local, state, and federal levels. Charitable foundations and housing foundations give away cash grants. The definition of a grant is to contribute to the public good, which means grants don't require repayment.

How do I qualify for a first-time home buyer grant in New Jersey?

If you are seeking a first-time homebuyer grant in New Jersey, you will need to fulfill the following qualification criteria:

This is your first home purchase, or you have not been a homeowner in the past three years. The home must be situated in the state of New Jersey and should be registered as your primary residence. The debt-to-income ratio and credit score requirements must be met. There are NJHMFA  income and purchase price limits that you must meet.

New Jersey is a prime location for first-time homebuyers. It has great access to both New York and Philadelphia. Despite being adjacent to New York, the properties in some cities of New Jersey are very affordable for people looking to purchase their first home. You can check out the first-time home buyer programs in New Jersey mentioned above and choose the one that suits your needs best.

To find more resources about New Jersey, check out our article about New Jersey small business grants.

Visit the rest of the Gov-Relations to read articles about government and private financial assistance. If you are struggling with housing issues, check our article about Section 42 housing and its eligibility criteria.

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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