Brought to you by
KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market
Real Estate

Buyers bringing less cash to the closing table

The median down payment sank to its lowest level since 2009, averaging 9 percent for home buyers this year, according to housing data by the National Association of Realtors.

First-time homebuyers' median down payment was 4 percent and repeat buyers averaged a 13 percent down payment, according to the housing data.

"First-time buyers historically make small down payments, but repeat buyers like to put down 20 percent if they can to avoid paying mortgage insurance," said Paul Bishop research specialist with NAR. "The general loss in home value since the peak of the housing boom means many repeat buyers in recent years had to make smaller down payments. Fortunately, prices have turned up this year and are showing sustained increases so we're on the road to a recovery in home equity."

Lenders have tightened their underwriting standards following the housing crash. During the housing boom, nearly half of first-time buyers had no down payment at all. But when prices dropped, many home owners did not have enough equity in their homes to carry the loss and foreclosures soared. From 2010-2011, the median down payment was 11 percent.

Many first-time home buyers-46 percent-have since turned to an FHA mortgage, which offers low down payments. Meanwhile, 10 percent have used the VA program that has no down payment requirements.

Top Stories

  • Remodeling Safeco
    Groundskeeping crews at Safeco Field are taking a backseat to Beyonce and Jay Z

  • Waiting for Marshawn
    Why Danny O'Neil doesn't expect to see Marshawn Lynch before September

  • Time for Takeoff
    Get to know the Blue Angels as they arrive for Seafair today
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Mortgage Calculator
Enter Your Details & Click the Calculate Button
Loan Amount $
Annual Interest Rate %
Term of Loan Years
Number of Payments
Monthly Payment $
Brought to you by

This is not a commitment to lend. Terms subject to change without notice. Applicant must qualify to receive credits. A division of Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corp. WA CL 81395, Equal Housing Lender, MLO 70765.
Listen to the show
Hear Real Estate Today on KIRO Radio
Join Tom Kelly every Sunday at 9am on KIRO Radio to talk Puget Sound real estate.

Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.