Charleston, SC Homeownership Programs

Trying to save up for a home can be a daunting task, but these programs can help buyers looking for purchase in Charleston SC.

Charleston, SC Homeownership Programs
Finding your dream home in Charleston can be expensive, but these programs can help. 

Unlock the Door to Homeownership in Charleston, SC with These Helpful Programs

Are you thinking about creating a new life in Charleston, SC? If so, you’re in for a real treat. The city offers a prime coastal setting with a thriving economy and tight-knit community. Furthermore, it has a strong history, with landmarks like Fort Sumter and the Boone Hall Plantation.

Evidently, the city has no shortage of natural attractions. However, buying a home in Charleston can be a pricey business. Based on the latest data, the median price of a home is $540,000, presenting a challenge for homebuyers on a tight budget.

To help you out, this article lists several homeownership programs available to Charleston residents. If you qualify, you’ll receive financial aid for a down payment, closing costs, and other expenses associated with buying a home.

Charleston Homeowner Initiative (HI)

The HI program was created to make homeownership affordable, particularly for low-to-moderate-income households. It achieves this by offering downpayment and closing cost assistance.

The City of Charleston partners with several other agencies to implement this program. Due to this, the terms and amounts provided by each participant vary.

Also crucial to note is that this program is only for households living in these five neighborhoods: Cannonborough, the West Side, the East Side, Elliotborough, the H, F & I streets, and the Rosemont Community.


  • You should be a first-time homebuyer- ideally, you should not have owned any property within the past three years.
  • The property you’re looking to buy should become your primary residence.
  • You should be financially capable of qualifying for a mortgage.
  • You’ll need to pass a background check.
  • Your household income should range between 50% and 120% of the Area Median Income as adjusted for households. These guidelines published by the HUD are as follows:

Department of Housing and Urban Development Income Guidelines

Number of Members in Each Household

Income Threshold

















Charleston Habitat for Humanity (CHFH)

Qualifying for conventional mortgage programs can be a hard nut to crack. This is where organizations like the CHFH come in handy. With the Homeownership Program, interested homebuyers put in some sweat equity by helping to construct or restore homes for other families.

Ultimately, this qualifies them to receive aid in building their own. Applicants who are eligible receive a zero-interest, affordable mortgage. Besides, the property's purchase price is significantly below the market rates thanks to the sweat equity put in by volunteers.


  • You should be financially capable of paying the Habitat mortgage and housing needs.
  • Be ready to partner with the organization by committing to 400 hours of sweat equity.
  • Should be a first-time homeowner.
  • Should have lived in one of these three areas for the last six months: West Ashley, North Charleston, or downtown Charleston.

The Veterans Build

The Charleston Habitat for Humanity offers yet another program tailored for veterans. The Veterans Build helps honorably and generally discharged officers and retired veterans own a home.

Apart from the military association, you should earn a gross annual income between 35% and 80% of the Area Median Income. Participants also need to complete at least 350 hours of sweat equity.

South Carolina Housing Homeownership Program

The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority's (SC Housing) Homebuyer Program assists low-to-moderate income families and individuals by offering either

a fixed interest rate mortgage loan or down payment assistance based on availability (funds may also be used to pay closing costs).

Since Charleston is a non-targeted area, the borrower must be a first-time homebuyer or not have had ownership interest in a principal residence three years before the loan is closed.

  • FHA loans:
  • Requires a 3.5 percent down payment
  • Maximum Loan-to-Value is 96.5 percent of the lesser of the sales price or appraised value
  • Minimum credit score is 620
  • 97% Conventional loans:
  • Requires 3 percent down payment
  • Maximum Loan-to-Value is 97.0 percent of the lesser of the sales price or appraised value
  • Reduced mortgage insurance requirements
  • Minimum credit score is 640
  • 100% LTV USDA RHS loans:
  • Minimum credit score is 640
  • 100% LTV VA loans:
  • Minimum credit score is 640
  • The Loan Term is 30 years
  • Down payment assistance and second mortgage loans are available to qualified buyers.
  • Borrowers must meet the qualifications for the first mortgage under SC Housing's programs to be eligible for any second mortgage product.
  • All recipients of down payment assistance (DPA) must complete a homebuyer training course before loan approval.

Find Your Perfect New Home in Charleston, SC with NewHomesMate

Understanding the ins and outs of the Charleston housing market can be overwhelming. That's where NewHomesMate comes in.

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Don't waste time searching on your own. Start your search, and let us help you find your dream home in Charleston.

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