First-Time Home Buyer Program

We sponsor a variety of loan programs to help families with different incomes and housing needs become homeowners. There are programs to help you purchase single-family homes, condominiums, and townhouses at several locations within the City limits of San Mateo. The City provides loans in various amounts that do not require immediate payments. Applicants that live or work in the City of San Mateo receive priority over those that do not.

How do I know if I qualify?

The first step in determining whether you qualify for the loan programs is to review your gross household income against the following table:
Household Size
2018 Maximum Yearly Income
Maximum Monthly Income
1 $99,450 $8,288
2 $113,700 $9,475
3 $127,900 $10,658
4 $142,100 $11,842
5 $153,450 $12,788
6 $164,850 $13,738
*Notes Regarding Borrower Eligibility: "First Time Homebuyer" means that you have not owned a principle residence for the past three (3) years, or are a single parent with a dependent child living with you. For all programs the maximum income of qualifying borrowers is 120% of the area median income (adjust annually); please see the Income Qualifications Table above for more specific information.

You must be able to qualify for a mortgage loan from a private lender. Eligibility for a mortgage will depend on purchase price and your income, assets, and credit rating.

What costs are there?

While the loan programs help you with reduced interest rates and deferred payments, you will need to pay a down payment and closing costs. The minimum down payment varies from 5% to 10% of the purchase price. Closing costs are items such as loan fees, escrow fees, title insurance, home inspection, and credit fees.

Summary of Homebuyer Opportunities

First Time Homebuyers
  • Eligible Buyers*: First Time Homebuyers
  • Available Properties: Participating condominium complexes
  • Available Loans: Varies with cost of unit
  • Other Highlights and Requirements:
    • No payment due until you sell the unit. Interest payment is waived if you sell to a new eligible buyer.
    • The City retains first right of purchase; resale price restrictions apply.
Below Market Rate (BMR)
  • Eligible Buyers*: Priority for First Time Homebuyers
  • Available Properties: Residences throughout the City
  • Available Loans: No financing available from the City
  • Other Highlights and Requirements:
    • Units are sold below market and carry a permanent price restriction which is adjusted annually.
    • City retains first right of purchase.
View / Print Loan Application - English/Spanish
View/Print Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions?
Please contact the Neighborhood Improvement & Housing Division at (650) 522-7220 or by email with additional questions .

Other Home Ownership Programs

CalHFA (California Housing Finance Agency)This home ownership program provides affordable housing opportunities by offering Below Market interest rates on mortgage loans to very low to moderate income FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS. The program strives to achieve continuous availability of mortgage funds, equitable geographic distribution of loans throughout the state and equal balance between new construction and resale homes.

Habitat for Humanity
Ready to own a home? Attend an Application Information Meeting to receive an application. Please see Upcoming Events on the website for details, or call 415-625-1011