Buyers catch a break as down payments dip from historical peak,

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 14 May 2024 06:21

The median down payment in the U.S. last quarter was $26,000, an average of 13.6% down, according to a new down payment trends report from, published this morning

The analysis of down payment trends at the national, state and top-100 metro levels found that while down payments fell from the all-time-high in Q3 2023, down payments climbed annually – up 3 percentage points and roughly $12,000 from Q1 2023 – as homeshoppers contended with higher mortgage rates and home prices and a restricted home supply.

Despite the drop from the historical peak, down payments remain well above pre-pandemic levels –  larger percent down on today’s typically higher priced homes means buyers paid 87.8% more as a down payment in Q1 2024 ($26,400) compared to Q1 2020 ($14,000). 

Here are the key takeaways: 

  • In Q1 2024, down payments reached an average 13.6% down, or $26,000, the highest first quarter average on record. 
    • Down payments fell from their Q3 2023 peak of 14.7% or $30,400. 
    • Down payment grew annually 0.6 percentage points, or $2,300, from Q1 2023. 
  • The typical down payment as a dollar amount increased in all but 8 states. 
  • In Q1 2024, the top 7 metro areas where buyers made the largest down payments were all expensive California markets. These pricey metros tend to see large down payments as both interest rates and interest payments increase with larger loan amounts, incentivizing buyers to put down as much as possible to avoid these costs. Also, these high-priced locales tend to have wealthier, high-earning residents who have the funds to put more down on a home.
  • Three of the five metros with the fast growing down payments, as a percentage of purchase price, were also in California and included Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif., Modesto, Calif, and Stockton, Calif along with New Haven-Milford, Conn. and Springfield, Mo.
  • Measured in dollars, down payments for investment and second homes were three and four times larger than for primary homes, in Q1 2024.

According to Sr. Economic Research Analyst Hannah Jones: “Despite a slight decrease from their peak, current buyers are still shelling out higher down payments compared to pre-pandemic norms. This trend may stem from intense local competition from a lack of homes for sale, compelling some to increase down payments to win the home, while others aim to lower their monthly payments by putting more down and taking out a smaller loan.”

According to Chief Economist Danielle Hale: “The current housing market's overall unaffordability has an impact on who is buying homes right now. Given persistently high home prices and elevated mortgage rates, many of today’s purchasers are likely either high-earners or repeat buyers leveraging existing home equity to use as a down payment, and this may explain why down payments have dipped but remained relatively high.”

You can read the full report here. If you're interested, I would be happy to coordinate an interview. 

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.