Guidance for First-Time Homebuyers Amid Market Fluctuations from OnPoint Community Credit Union

Press Release

PORTLAND, Ore., April 30, 2024 — The average home price in Oregon is more than $530,000, a $5,000 increase over last year according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS). With housing prices in Portland at historic highs, OnPoint Community Credit Union wants first-time homebuyers to know there are opportunities on the horizon.

“It’s not all bad news,” said Jessica Chestnut, a mortgage loan officer at OnPoint Community Credit Union. “Market dynamics are shifting and there are proactive steps Portland residents can take to make homeownership more than a dream.”

The Federal Reserve has signaled it plans to cut interest rates three times in 2024. And Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has made housing and homelessness the state’s highest priority, announcing significant investments to expand access to homeownership. OnPoint mortgage loan officers are counseling first-time homebuyers on how to get into a great home they can afford in this complex housing market.


Here are OnPoint’s five tips for preparing to buy a home now, so you are ready when the time is right:

Define goals. It is crucial to have a clear picture of your goals and financial outlook before starting the home-buying process. List your must-haves, nice-to-haves and don’t-needs before touring properties. When you are financially ready, determine the maximum amount of money you are comfortable spending on a down payment, closing costs and monthly mortgage payments without straining your finances. Refer back to your needs and budget each time you look at a home.

Don’t get tied to the right time to buy. Although interest rates are higher, it doesn’t mean homeownership is out of the question. When rates are higher, you face less competition and have room for negotiation. And when rates go down, you can refinance later. When rates are lower, competition is higher, and you may pay over the asking price for the home you are interested in. The truth is, the perfect time to buy is when you are financially ready and find a house that works for your budget.

Explore government programs. The state of Oregon has many housing initiatives designed to help first-time homebuyers. The Oregon Bond Residential Loan program offers competitive interest rates, which can help eligible families increase their home purchasing power and keep their monthly house payments affordable. The state also offers first-time homebuyer savings accounts (FTHBSA) aimed at helping new buyers with a down payment, title insurance, closing costs, appraisal and inspection fees and other qualifying payments. The Portland Housing Bureau offers a Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL) to help first-time homebuyers purchase a home within the city limits of Portland.

Build confidence with knowledge. Your financial institution and nonprofits in your community offer one-on-one counseling and other resources that will teach you about the home-buying process. OnPoint supports the work of Hacienda CDC, which provides affordable housing, homeownership support and educational opportunities for prospective homebuyers. The Portland Housing Center also offers “Homebuyer 101” classes to walk you through the home-buying process. OnPoint offers free homebuying seminars led by OnPoint’s mortgage professionals. OnPoint also offers mortgage programs for first-time homebuyers like the Just for Starters or Homeroom. All OnPoint members have access to GreenPath Financial Wellness for free individualized counseling and access to financial wellness services.

Find a reliable lender you can trust. Navigating the current housing market can feel overwhelming, so it is important to choose a mortgage lender you can trust. Don’t be afraid to talk to multiple lenders and compare rates and fees to find the best deal. Ask that they conduct a thorough pre-approval process, equip you with a pre-approval letter and respond quickly to inquiries. Using your financial institution as your mortgage lender may also be beneficial because you have an existing relationship and an understanding of their process. It is also possible that you can transfer your down payment directly out of your savings, potentially reducing fees and making for a simpler experience.

“Buying a home is a life-changing experience, especially for first-time homebuyers,” Chestnut continued. “With these financial tips, you will be on the right track toward homeownership.”

Learn more about purchasing a new home, mortgage refinancing and home equity loan options with OnPoint, or visit any of OnPoint’s 57 branch locations across Oregon and Southwest Washington to discuss your path to homeownership.



OnPoint Community Credit Union is the largest credit union in Oregon, serving over 554,000 members and with assets of $9 billion. Founded in 1932, OnPoint Community Credit Union’s membership is available to anyone who lives or works in one of 28 Oregon counties (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler and Yamhill) and two Washington counties (Skamania and Clark) and their immediate family members. OnPoint Community Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). More information is available at or 503-228-7077 or 800-527-3932.


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