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How Much Is a Down Payment on a House?

How Much Is a Down Payment on a House?
by Jerome Foster - September 19, 2022,

The needed down payment for a property depends on the type of loan you obtain but typically varies from 3 to 20 percent of the home's buying price. Beyond lender regulations, increasing your down payment to minimize your monthly mortgage payment might be financially advantageous. Home sellers who are seeking purchasers with a minimal chance of financing troubles that may delay the sale — or worse — may find offers with greater down payments more enticing.

What Is a Down Payment On a House?

The down payment is part of the home's purchase price that is paid in cash. Typically, the remainder of the purchase price is covered by a loan obtained from a lender and repaid through monthly mortgage payments. The amount of the down payment is stated as a percentage of the purchase price. The parameters of your loan determine the needed payment percentage. Not every homebuyer with financing is obliged to make a down payment, although the vast majority are.

How Much Should I Put Down On a House?

The optimal down payment is 20% of the home's purchasing price. Paying 20% in advance can:

  • slash your monthly mortgage payment
  • remove pricey private mortgage insurance (PMI)
  • rate of interest reduction
  • Enhance the competitiveness of your offering

When deciding how much of a down payment you should make on a property, experiment with a mortgage calculator to discover the optimal amount. As you browse, keep in mind that in addition to your down payment, you will also be required to pay escrow funds, which are a collection of additional closing charges. It may include your closing costs, taxes, and title fees.

20% Down Reduces Your Mortgage Payment

The less you must borrow from the lender, and the more you pay ahead, the smaller your monthly payment will be.

Suppose you purchase a $300,000 house at a fixed rate of 4.25 percent. Taxes and insurance premiums are not included in the following payment possibilities.

With a 20% down payment ($60,000), you would borrow $240,000 and pay $1,548 every month.

With a 5% down payment ($15,000), you would borrow $285,000 and pay $1,950 each month.

20% Down Eliminates Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

With a 20% down payment, you will own 20% of your house. This permits you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), a monthly fee that is folded into your mortgage payment to safeguard the lender against what they perceive to be a riskier loan.

If you purchase a $300,000 property with a 5% down payment, your monthly PMI payments will be $181 until your equity exceeds 20% of the home's value or you refinance into a loan without PMI.

20% Down Improves Mortgage Rates

Typically, buyers who make a 20% down payment receive higher loan rates. Your lender will view you as a less risky borrower if you make a larger down payment since it demonstrates your financial stability. Your overall risk is determined by your debt-to-income ratio, your credit score, and your loan-to-value ratio. Your loan-to-value ratio will be stronger the greater your down payment.

For instance, if you borrow $240,000 on a property worth $300,000, as in the preceding example, your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is 80%, or $240,000 divided by $300,000. The better the proportion, the lower it is.

20% Down Makes Your Offer More Appealing To The Seller

A greater down payment might make your offer more attractive to a seller in a competitive market. This is because they will likely feel more secure that there will be no financial problems at the closing that might cause the deal to fail.

What Is The Average Down Payment On a House?

In 2021, the usual down payment for a mortgaged home ranged from 10 to 19 percent of the home's purchasing price. Traditional down payment amounts are 20%. However, according to a report, 59% of buyers put down less than 20%.

Here is a breakdown of the down payment percentages of homebuyers who reported obtaining a mortgage in 2021:

  • 18% of buyers have a down payment of more than 20%
  • 20% of buyers have a down payment of 20%
  • 24% of buyers have a down payment of 10-19%
  • 13% of buyers have a down payment of 6-9%
  • 12% of buyers have a down payment of 3-5%
  • 10% of buyers have a down payment of less than 3%
  • 4% of buyers don’t remember the size of their down payment

Younger buyers are more likely to put less than 20% down on a property. 63% of Gen Z and Millennial purchasers put down less than 20% of the purchase price. Moreover, 64 percent of Gen Xers do the same. Only 41% of Baby Boomers and Silent Generation purchasers put down less than 20%.

What Is The Minimum Down Payment For a House?

The minimal down payment for a home varies on the type of loan used to fund the acquisition. Some individuals may qualify for loans with no down payment. However, loans with a 3% or 3.5% down payment are more frequent. Loans with lower down payments, such as the 3.5% FHA loan, are meant to make homeownership more accessible to first-time purchasers.

Even if you finance with a loan that requires a less down payment, you will often still be responsible for closing fees. There are a few loan options with no down payment that will include all closing expenses in the mortgage, but they are uncommon.

  • Conventional loans need a 3% minimum down payment.
  • 3.5% minimum down payment on FHA loans
  • VA loan minimal down payment: 0%
  • Minimum USDA loan down payment: $0

What Are The Zero-down Payment Mortgage Options?

In order to qualify for the majority of zero-down payment mortgages, borrowers must fulfill specific requirements, and many individuals do not qualify. Certain groups, such as health care professionals, educators, guardians, veterans, and families with handicapped members, are eligible for certain programs. Many of these programs are offered to first-time homebuyers or individuals who have not owned a house in at least three years. Typically, the property they are purchasing must also serve as their primary abode.

Down Payment Assistance (DPA) schemes: Typically given by the state, county, or municipal governments, these programs provide DPA help in the form of a grant or a second mortgage to cover the cost of a homebuyer's down payment, with perks such as 0% interest and delayed payments. These programs are often administered by government bodies or non-profit organizations. However, there are lenders who provide DPA loan schemes.

Below-market first mortgages: These programs, sometimes known as programs for first-time homebuyers, offer below-market loan rates and lower closing costs or fees. They are generally supported by state housing finance organizations to assist certain first-time purchasers in lowering their initial and continuing expenditures.

Tax credit or mortgage credit certificate (MCC): The MCC is a tax credit that allows qualified first-time homebuyers to offset a part of their mortgage interest, up to $2,000 per year, and also helps purchasers qualify for a loan by counting against their monthly income.

How To Save For a Down Payment On a House?

Having sufficient funds for a down payment might be one of the greatest obstacles to homeownership. A study indicated that renters earning the median U.S. renter income of $3,855 per month and saving 2.4% (or roughly $92/month) of their income (the median rate for renters) will need 7 years to save for a 5% down payment on a typical starter house valued at $148,527 today.

The majority of consumers save by setting aside a portion of each paycheck. Others may be required to make a financial sacrifice in order to purchase a property.

Saving Strategies

Minimize your life: Examine your expenditures and possessions with a critical eye. Do you possess unused items that you may sell? Empty the storage container to avoid paying the monthly fee.

Try cutting back on luxuries such as dining out, cable television, and coffee shop drinks. Consider delaying or canceling your trip to preserve money for your large buy.

Start a side business, take on more shifts at work, or reduce your vacation days.

Ask for support: Buyers frequently ask relatives and friends for assistance, perhaps utilizing funds from a birthday or wedding as part of their down payment. 42% of purchasers with a mortgage report utilizing a gift or loan from friends and/or family for their down payment, which accounts for 13% of the average down payment for buyers with a mortgage.

First-time Home Buyer Down Payments

37% of all homebuyers are first-time buyers, according to a report. While most repeat purchasers may use the equity from the property they're selling to make a down payment on a new home, it might be more difficult for first-time buyers to obtain the funds necessary for a down payment.

This may explain why first-time mortgage purchasers are more likely to rely on gifts or loans from friends and/or family.

Down Payment Gift Rules

If you want to use gifted funds for all or part of your down payment, you must be aware of the limits and paperwork requirements.

First, your lender will need to know where your down payment funds are coming from. Expect your lender to review your banking activities from the last three or more months. Keep a paper record of all significant transactions so that you can correctly account for all deposits made during this period.

Additionally, your lender will want to check that the money you've received as a gift is indeed a gift. Verify that it is not a loan from a friend or family member that must be repaid. Additional loans impact your debt-to-income ratio and may increase your credit risk. Here are the criteria your lender will evaluate:

Generally speaking, monetary gifts must originate from a family member, spouse, or partner.

A donation letter for a down payment: Lenders frequently need the donor to produce a letter clarifying their relationship with the donor. Additionally, it should verify the amount of the gift, confirm contact information, and document the property's address.

Not all loan types will let you make a down payment using gift monies in their whole. This is especially true if the property will not serve as the owner's primary dwelling. Confirm with your lender the minimum borrower contribution required from your own cash for the house you intend to purchase.

Do you want to know how you can buy a house and flip it? Read our complete article.

Author

  • Jerome has worked for an international real estate magazine in the past before joining Prudentialcal. He now spearheads our team of writers and ensures the quality of content we produce weekly.

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