Story Idea—Only Able to Afford a Small Down Payment for Your First Home? You’re in Good Company

Many first-time buyers are overwhelmed by all the questions to ask before jumping into homeownership. People often wonder, “Am I ready? Is this a good investment for me? Can I afford it? Will I live here long enough to warrant buying a place instead of renting?” Perhaps the biggest concern is how to pay for such a big purchase. Oftentimes, first-time buyers cannot afford a large down payment.

According to data from the National Association of REALTORS® Confidence Index, in the months of December 2014 through February 2015, about two-thirds of first-time buyers made a down payment between 0-6 percent. And while the number of small down payments is lower than it was in 2009 (when 77 percent of down payments were in the 0-6 percent range), it is higher than this time last year (when 61 percent of down payments for first-time buyers fit in that range).

down payment chart

Story Springboard

Check out a blog post by NAR’s economic team on the recent rise in lower down payments for first-time buyers. Discuss down payment trends with REALTORS® in your area to get their perspective. Talk to first-time buyers to see what they were able to put down and how they felt about it.


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Each month, NAR produces a few story ideas for the media, presenting timely topics accompanied with background information and facts related to the real estate market. These housing and real estate story ideas are designed to help media generate content for news stories, hopefully serving as a helpful resource to those in the media looking for stories or new angles.