Monthly mortgage payments have become increasingly affordable due to the low interest rates in the U.S.; however, down payments still appear to be a roadblock, according to a new Zillow report.
According to Zillow, saving for a down payment is still a massive barrier for potential buyers, especially first-time buyers. In fact, 40 percent of all buyers rely on a gift or loan from friends or family in order to come up with the funds for a down payment.
Since home values have skyrocketed (by 38.3 percent since September 2014), this problem is becoming more apparent. At the start of 2015, buyers would have needed $36,600 as a 20 percent down payment for a home. Compare that to today’s market and buyers need about $52,000 as the down payment for a median home.
The following locations in the 50 largest U.S. metros are the most affordable in terms of down payment-to-median income ratio: Cleveland, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Memphis. California, a high-cost-of-living state, has several areas in which homes are difficult to save for: San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.
“The path to homeownership, and the savings and wealth-creation benefits that come with it, has gotten harder for many buyers,” said Zillow senior economist Chris Glynn. “Saving for a down payment is the single biggest challenge many potential homebuyers face, and it is especially difficult when incomes fail to keep pace with home values. Even still, many buyers sense that prices will slip further out of reach in coming years and desperately want to lock in low mortgage rates while they can, which is likely contributing to the urgency we’re seeing in the market. The current environment is a double win for longtime homeowners who have enjoyed big equity gains and are now able to refinance their mortgage to lower their monthly payments.”