What Is the Median Down Payment by State in 2024?
The housing market has seen drastic price increases in recent years. From 2020 to 2021, the median sale price of a home grew 14.63%, according to data from Redfin. That growth has slowed but has yet to stop. From 2022 to 2023, the median sale price increased 3.81%.
If you’re planning to buy and move to a new home this year, you may be wondering how these price increases have impacted down payments and how down payments compare from state to state. The This Old House Reviews Team analyzed median home sale data from November 2023 for single-family homes. We assumed a 15% median down payment based on information from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). You can refer to our methodology to learn more about our data collection and analysis.
Median Down Payment on a House by State
The team at This Old House Reviews analyzed November 2023 median home sale price data from Redfin for each state and assumed a 15% down payment for first-time and repeat home buyers based on NAR data. We used the same sources to determine median down payments for metropolitan areas, assuming a 15% down payment.
Nine of the top 10 states with the highest median down payments are in the West and Northeast. The 10 states with the lowest median down payments are in the Midwest and South.
Median Down Payment by Metro Area
The four metro areas with the highest median down payments are located in California. The Golden State has two other metros on the top 50 list, both within the top 13. Most of the top ten metros on this list with the highest median down payments are in the West and Northeast states.
The top 10 metros on the list have a median down payment of $138,345, while the total 50 have a median down payment of $71,889. The median for the top 10 metros listed is higher than any state’s median down payment, while the median for all 50 metro areas listed is higher than all but seven states. Only five of the metro areas listed have a median down payment lower than their state’s median down payment: Buffalo, New York, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis.
What Percent Down Payment Do You Need on a House?
There are various home loans to choose from when buying a house, including conventional loans, loans for unique properties, and loans for rural areas. The down payment for most loans ranges from 3.5%–20% of the house’s purchase price. Some loans, such as a VA loan, don’t require a down payment for qualified buyers.
A Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan means that the FHA insures the loan, which allows the lender to offer you a better deal, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). FHA loans offer benefits, including low closing costs, easy credit qualifying, and down payments as low as 3.5% of the purchase price.
Conventional loans are loans that are not part of specific government programs. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, they typically have fewer fees than FHA loans but can be more challenging to obtain. Any down payment lower than 20% for a conventional loan typically requires mortgage insurance.
Conventional loans may be conforming loans or non-conforming loans. Nonconforming loans include a variety of loans, such as loans for properties with nonstandard features. Conforming loans are defined as having maximum loan amounts set by the government.
VA and USDA Loans
VA loans are an option for veterans, active duty military members, and eligible surviving spouses. The benefits of a VA loan include low interest rates, limited closing costs, and no required down payment. Some lenders may still require down payments for borrowers of VA home loans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but the VA doesn’t require a down payment.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans are for qualified applicants who want to own a home in eligible rural areas. Like a VA loan, there is no down payment required.
Tips for Saving for Your Down Payment
Saving up for a down payment can feel like a daunting task. The American Bankers Association offers recommendations for home buyers on saving up, including the following:
- Develop a budget: Calculate how much you need for your down payment. The down payment can range from 3.5%–20% of the purchase price of a home, depending on your loan. Determine how much you’ll be able to save each month and how long it will take to save up your down payment. You can also identify spending areas where you can cut back.
- Save in a separate account: Create a separate account to deposit your down payment savings. It reduces the temptation to take out that money if you’re tight on cash.
- Research state and local home-buying programs: Several states have first-time homebuyer assistance programs, as do some counties and local governments. The benefits of these programs include housing discounts and down payment loans or grants.
Down Payment Assistance Programs
Numerous down payment assistance programs are available at the national, state, and local levels. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a resource listing state-based assistance programs. Other programs include the following:
- The Home Ownership Council (HSA) offers two down payment assistance funds, the BIPOC Donor Restricted Fund and the LMI Donor Restricted Fund. The BIPOC fund is for first-time homebuyers who are black, indigenous, or people of color. The LMI fund is for low-to-moderate-income first-time buyers.
- The Chenoa Fund is an assistance program open to all homebuyers and doesn’t have income limits.
- Bank of America offers a Down Payment Grant program that can grant up to 3% of the home purchase price, up to $10,000, in select markets.
This is a small sample of the numerous down payment assistance programs available.
The following complete data set shows the median down payment for all three groups we analyzed. For all homebuyers, we assumed a median down payment of 15%. For first-time buyers, we assumed a median down payment of 8%. We assumed a median down payment of 19% for repeat buyers. These numbers came from NAR’s profile of buyers and sellers.
Expert Tips and Insights
We turned to a panel of experts to learn about their observations of the housing market and what aspiring homeowners can anticipate this year. Read their tips and insights below.
To determine the median down payment by state, we utilized November 2023 median home sale values sourced from Redfin for single-family homes. We assumed a 15% down payment for all home buyers, based on data from the National Association of Realtors. For first-time homebuyers, we assumed an 8% down payment, while repeat homebuyers were assumed to make a 19% down payment. The same methodology was applied to calculate median down payments for metropolitan areas, assuming a 15% down payment across the board.
Questions about our study? Please contact the author here.
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