A Central Information Source on Down Payment Trends

As the shortage of affordable housing worsens, low down payment mortgages are playing a vital role in helping families become homeowners and stimulating housing demand.

Consumers today have at their disposal an extraordinary variety of low down payment options—from FHA, some 2,400 homeownership programs, and the newest products offered by America’s leading lenders. However, public awareness of the opportunities to buy a home with a low down payment is still surprisingly low, according to recent surveys. 

To help improve knowledge and understanding of the latest information on low down payments and its impact on the housing market, we created The Down Payment Report. On a regular basis, we collect, report and archive news and commentary on down payments from a wide variety of sources.

Please let us know your thoughts and suggestions on how we can make The Down Payment Report more useful to you.


Rob Chrane

CEO, Down Payment Resource



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Media interviews and inquiries: Contact Melinda Harris, mharris@downpaymentresource.com

September/October 2020

  • Commentary: Don’t raid IRAs for down payments.
  • Down Payment Interview: NAREB’s National Executive Director, Antoine Thompson,
    discusses the American Dream Down Payment Act and whether or not the legislation will move the needle for homeownership.
  • Down payment options blunt the impact of rising prices.
  • The bill that allows tax-free IRA withdrawals for down payments.
  • The three provisions of the Biden-Harris plan: permanent tax credit, DPA for public workers, and expanded CDBG funding.
  • Millennials: Homeownership rates rise most for younger owners.
  • FHA updates, including delinquency rates and the extended foreclosure moratorium.
  • Down Payment Resource releases its Third Quarter 2020 Homeownership Program Index (HPI).
  • Structural barriers limit home equity for African Americans and Hispanics.
  • Down payment and purchase loan data.

Download the full issue. (released October 9, 2020)

June/July 2020

  • Commentary: Low down payments and home price stability.
  • Down Payment Interview: Stockton Williams, Executive Director
    of the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA),
    shares his views on the impact of COVID-19 on state housing finance agencies.
  • How young buyers are driving pandemic demand — first-timers dominated April sales.
  • Many lenders are raising standards and lowering LTVs.
  • Lost savings are putting Millennials’ dreams on hold.
  • The ten toughest markets to recoup savings, including the years of saving needed for an additional ten percent down payment.
  • Hispanic homeownership is on the rise, but more is needed.
  • Down payment and purchase loan data.

Download the full issue. (released June 30, 2020)

April 2020

  • Commentary: Pandemic impacts entry level buyers
  • Down Payment Interview: Rebecca Steele, President and CEO of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, shares her views on surviving the COVID-19 crisis.
  • COVID-19 crisis hits young workers hardest.
  • The crisis is forcing first-time buyers to tap down payment savings.
  • New CFPB study describes how first-time buyers have changed over the past 20 years.
  • Chase lowers its LTV to 80 percent and other lenders tighten standards.
  • Down payment assistance trends and COVID-19 impact.
  • Fannie and Freddie allow desktop appraisals and urge due diligence on income verification and employment.

Download the full issue. (released April 22, 2020)

March 2020

  • Commentary: COVID-19 and Homeownership
  • Down Payment Interview: Examining the solution to the white-black homeownership gap with Freddie Mac Senior Economist Jaya Dey.
  • What a zero percent interest rate may mean for first-time homebuyers
  • Surprises in generational trends and median down payments
  • Scorecard on Millennials and debt
  • New down payment assistance programs across the nation
  • Updated 2020 and 2021 housing forecasts

Download the full issue. (released March 19, 2020)

January 2020

  • Looking back and looking ahead: 2019 housing news highlights and a 2020 housing forecast round up.
  • Down Payment Interview: Affordable housing expert Tonya Todd on how HFA innovation and flexibility are helping moderate-income buyers.
  • FHFA seeks to reduce low down payment loans in GSE portfolios.
  • Awareness of low down payment programs improves.
  • Nearly one out of three Millennial buyers plan to augment their savings with down payment assistance.
  • One-quarter of Millennial planning to buy this year have saved less than $1K.
  • Experts predict Gen Z will raise homeownership rate.
  • Freddie Mac launches new online homebuyer education program.

Download the full issue. (Released January 23, 2020)

November 2019

  • New paper by the St. Louis Fed found down payment assistance doesn’t inherently increase default risk.
  • Raising credit score standards rather than lowering DTIs is a better way to reduce FHA defaults, according to an Urban Institute study.
  • Apple pledges $1 billion for first-time homebuyer help.
  • National median down payments paid by first-time buyers fell to 6 percent.
  • First-time homebuyers expected to grow at record pace.
  • HUD does not plan to lower the mortgage insurance premium this year.
  • The Veterans Administration is refunding $400 million in overpayments for funding fees made by veteran homebuyers.
  • Lower-priced homes continue to appreciate faster than more expensive ones.
  • Down payment and first-time homebuyer numbers at-a-glance.

Download the full issue. (Released November 19, 2019)

September 2019

  • Down Payment Interview: The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Steve O’Connor on the MBA’s affordable housing initiative.
  • New research finds lower down payments may reduce the risk of default.
  • HUD drops controversial rule requiring Housing Finance Agency (HFA) documentation for FHA loans.
  • New FHA condo rules take effect in October.
  • Millennials more likely than other generations to tap retirement accounts for down payment funds.
  • Lack of affordable homes frustrates Millennial homebuyers.
  • Down payment programs are not just for first-time buyers.
  • Fitch Ratings report finds HFAs help address affordability gap.
  • Down payment and first-time homebuyer numbers at-a-glance.

Download the full issue. (Released September 19, 2019)

June 2019

  • DPR Interview: Fannie Mae’s Deputy Chief Economist on recent research regarding consumer knowledge about qualifying for a mortgage.
  • Down payment requirement perception worse today than three years ago.
  • MBA launches affordability initiative.
  • Today’s lower rates greatly reduce monthly mortgage payments.
  • Millennials worry more about paying off student debt than saving for a home.
  • Generation Z is the first generation with preference for buying homes in culturally diverse neighborhoods.
  • Two bills to reduce the cost of FHA financing head for the house floor.
  • Lower rates prompt Freddie Mac to sweeten its 2019 and 2020 forecasts.
  • Down payment and first-time homebuyer numbers at-a-glance.

Download the full issue. (Released June 27, 2019)

May 2019

  • Down Payment Interview: Freddie Mac’s Deputy Chief Economist on recent research about down payment perceptions and reality.
  • Use of state and local HFA down payment assistance doubled in four years.
  • House hearings spotlight the state of minority homeownership.
  • HUD reviews down payment assistance for FHA loans.
  • FHA returns to 2016 credit standards.
  • How buyers are sourcing their down payment.
  • More than half of first-timers compare lenders.
  • Gen Z is on the move.
  • Down payment and first-time homebuyer numbers at-a-glance.

Download the full issue. (Released May 21, 2019)

March 2019

  • Exclusive: Trulia’s chief economist on why this is a good year to buy.
  • Millennials continue to lead the way on the national homeownership rate.
  • Affordable markets win out over trendy metros.
  • New decline in homebuyer sentiment.
  • Are seniors who age in place hurting first-time buyers?
  • PMI boomed last year.
  • Is FHA’s insurance premium putting its credit quality at risk?
  • Down payment and first-time homebuyer numbers at-a-glance.

Download the full issue. (Released March 21, 2019)

February 2019

  • Buy younger, retire richer? New study from the Urban Institute finds that Millennials who are putting off buying their first homes today will pay the price in their sixties.
  • Why 2019 will be tough on buyers — The DPR interview with Realtor.com economist Danielle Hale
  • Buyers avoid low down payments in the nation’s hottest markets
  • Can Generation Z save $304 a month for 12 years to afford a home?
  • Lenders rank low down payment mortgages as most helpful tool for low- to moderate-income buyers.
  • 7 markets with the greatest potential impact of down payment assistance
  • Down payment and first-time homebuyer numbers at-a-glance

January 2019

  • Buyers in cheaper markets are putting down less
  • How the government shutdown is impacting homeownership programs
  • How will the American Dream fare in 2019?
  • Rethinking PMI
  • Down payment news highlights from 2018
  • The Down Payment Interview: John O’Callaghan, President and CEO of Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc. (ANDP) and the first recipient of Down Payment Resource’s Beverly Faull Affordable Housing Leadership Award, discusses affordability and gentrification in Atlanta.

Download the full issue. (Released January 22, 2019)

December 2018

  • First-time buyer 2019 forecast
  • Down payments reach record high
  • Half of Millennials have no down payment savings
  • New homes are shrinking

Download the full issue. (Released December 18, 2018)

November 2018

  • Millennial homeownership hits five-year peak
  • Student debt cuts net worth by 75 percent
  • Down payment percentages linked to credit risk
  • Half of Millennials believe they need 20 percent down
  • The Down Payment Interview: Sarah Carpenter, Executive Director of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, discusses innovative use of state housing tax credits to provide down payment assistance to low- and moderate-income buyers.

Download the full issue. (Released November 16, 2018)

October 2018

  • Barriers to Homeownership report: 19 million under 40 renters can afford to buy a home
  • Half of first-time homebuyers rely on gifts
  • Median down payment reaches new high
  • Housing bill includes down payment assistance programs
  • New down payment programs across the nation
  • The Down Payment Interview: Odeta Kushi, Senior Economist, First American Financial Corporation, reacts to outlook for buyers and housing economy

Download the full issue. (Released October 23, 2018)

September 2018

  • First-timers dominated spring agency housing markets
  • Soaring home prices cause Millennial homeownership confidence to drop
  • Gen Zers eager to become homeowners
  • Many states offer veteran-friendly homeownership programs
  • The Down Payment Interview: Rod Griffin, Director of Consumer Education and Awareness at Experian, discusses Millennials’ slow use of credit and its impact.

Download full issue. (Released September 18, 2018)

August 2018

  • Millennials raid retirement savings for the down payment
  • Millennial homeownership rates examined
  • The long-term cost of avoiding PMI
  • New down payment assistance programs across the country
  • The DPR Interview: Ralph M. Perrey, executive director of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), discusses record year for applications and programs targeted to meet local community needs.

Download full issue. (Released August 23, 2018)

July 2018

  • Housing finance agencies report record volume
  • Brian Montgomery’s top priorities at HUD
  • FHA purchase loans lose market share
  • Top home buying trade-offs millennials will consider
  • The DPR Interview: Stockton Williams, executive director of the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA), discusses homeownership assistance innovation.

Download full issue. (Released July 17, 2018)

June 2018

  • Hurricane losses raise FHA defaults
  • Saving for a down payment keeps millennials renting
  • HFAs have fewer delinquencies
  • The DPR Interview: Danny Gardner, vice president of single-family affordable lending and access to credit at Freddie Mac, discusses how HomeOne aims to serve the market.

Download full issue. (Released June 12, 2018)

May 2018

  • Hispanics and young buyers help the homeownership rate turn a corner
  • Freddie Mac launches a new 3 percent down loan
  • More Than 86 percent of homeownership programs are funded
  • The DPR Interview: A.J. Smith, SmartAsset’s VP of Content and Financial Education, discusses new study showing it can take a decade to save for a 20 percent down payment.

Download full issue. (Released May 14, 2018)

April 2018

  • Why times are tough for first-time buyers
  • Where to find affordable starter homes
  • New affordability indexes measure renters’ ability to become homeowners
  • The DPR Interview: Housing economist Ralph B. McLaughlin on first-time homebuyer and starter inventory challenges

Download full issue. (Released April 23, 2018)

March 2018

  • First-time homebuyer share falls
  • Low down payments help Hispanic buyers
  • Counselors target housing finance agencies
  • DPR Interview with the program administrator for Maryland’s SmartBuy Program that helps buyers eliminate student debt

Download full issue. (Released March 20, 2018)

February 2018

  • What will tax reform mean to first-time buyers?
  • A new model to limit defaults.
  • Down payment programs remain well funded.
  • The DPR Interview: National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun on tax reform and first-time homebuyers

Download full issue. (Released February 13, 2018)

January 2018

  • Millennials still trail homeownership norms
  • Median down payment hits record high
  • Do low down payments really make mortgages less affordable?
  • The DPR Interview: ATTOM’s Daren Blomquist on first-time buyers

Download full issue. (Released January 16, 2018)

December 2017

  • First-time buyers bounce back to 32 percent of purchases.
  • Urban Institute report recommends increasing visibility of down payment programs.
  • Rising prices are increasing down payments.
  • Fannie Mae launches student loan debt pilot project.
  • The DPR Interview: Laurie Goodman, co-director of the Urban Institute’s Housing Policy Center, highlights the survey findings from the new report “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership.”

Download full issue. (Released December 12, 2017)

November 2017

  • More buyers struggling to save.
  • First-time buyers’ median down payment declined in 2017.
  • Inventory drought working its way up the housing latter, now impacting move-up buyers.
  • Changes ahead for FHA Mortgage Insurance?
  • The DPR Interview: Beyond the numbers of the new National Association of Realtor’s Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers with Jessica Lautz, NAR’s Managing Director of Survey Research and Communications.

Download full issue. (Released November 8, 2017)

October 2017

  • The home buying myth that’s preventing first-time homebuyers from reaching their goal
  • Progress on the 20 Percent Down Myth—or Not?
  • Down Payment Confusion Plagues Millennials and Minorities
  • The DPR Interview: Why MGIC is making a special effort to market to millennials with MGIC’s Vance Edwards

Download full issue. (Released October 12, 2017)

September 2017

  • Hurricane Harvey’s flood damage causes an unprecedented housing crisis.
  • Home prices up, but fewer young buyers use FHA loans.
  • Low down payments rise, but not risk.
  • The DPR Interview: How Unison Turns Future Equity into Down Payments Today with Unison’s Michael Micheletti.

Download full issue. (Released September 13, 2017)

August 2017

  • Setting the record straight on Freddie Mac’s premium pricing policy.
  • Millennials’ housing finance struggles.
  • Online search activity for first-time buyer mortgages at all time high.
  • The DPR Interview: How Texas manages interest rate risk with Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) Executive Director Tim Irvine and Director of Bond Finance, Monica Galuski.

Download full issue. (Released August 14, 2017)

July 2017

  • Duty to Serve plans aim to improve the financing of affordable housing in three underserved areas: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural housing.
  • New feature: The DPR Interview sits down with Guild Mortgage’s David Battany to discuss 1 percent loan products and HFA programs.
  • Fewer first-time buyers use low down payments.
  • Federal funding still at risk.
  • Hot markets put pressure on down payment assistance.

Download full issue. (Released July 10, 2017)

June 2017

June Homeownership Month: More commercial lenders launch super low down payment products, first-time homebuyers bloom in the springtime, millennials need a decade to save for a 20 percent down payment.

Download full issue. (released June 12, 2017)

May 2017

Funding for down payment assistance and home buyer education won a temporary reprieve in Congress, low down payments help buyers win in hotter markets and new down payment programs launch in New York, Maryland and Nevada.

Download full issue. (released May 16, 2017)

April 2017

Proposed cuts in the FY 2017 and FY 2018 federal budgets could reduce or end federal support for state and local down payment assistance and homebuyer education programs. The Urban Institute dismisses OIG concerns over FHA and down payment assistance.

Download full issue. (released April 11, 2017)

March 2017

Down payment assistance programs boomed in 2016 as state housing finance agencies funded more buyers, mortgages to Millennials grew as median FICOs declined in January, and two states launched low down payment programs to stimulate homeownership in targeted communities.

Download full issue.

February 2017

Down payment assistance programs are helping middle class families buy homes in hot markets. Mortgage credit certificates become more popular and imaginary barriers hold back buyers.

Download full issue.

January 2017

As many as one out of seven first-time buyers are tapping into their retirement funds to help with down payments, according to the National Association of Realtors 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Yet only 3 percent are turning to sources like down payment assistance programs. As mortgage rates and home prices rise in the months to come, will retirement savings suffer?

Download full issue.

December 2016

As Congress prepares to adjourn, hopes dim that mortgage insurance premiums will be deductible in 2017. In a new analysis, the Urban Institute found that state HFA down payment assistance loans are net present value positive to the FHA insurance fund, and the FHA reported the fund grew by $3.8 billion in fiscal year 2016. Bank of America has committed $1 billion to its first-time buyer program. Maryland introduced a new down payment assistance program that helps borrowers pay off student loans.

Download full issue.

November 2016

Though the election may bring changes in the regulation of housing finance, low down payment programs will continue to be important tactics to reverse the multi-year decline in homeownership. Saving for a down payment is still the greatest single barrier keeping first-time buyers from becoming homeowners. Median down payments for first-time buyers fell to only 4 percent in 2016, down from six percent in 2015 and as the summer season ended, first-time buyers matched their highest share of buyers since July 2012.

Download full issue.

October 2016

Down payment averages increased slightly in August and September to 17 percent for conventional mortgages and 13 percent for Millennials. Mortgage insurance rose 35 percent in the second quarter as FHA’s market share fell to 20 percent of all mortgages.

Download full issue.