First-Time Buyers Face Down Payment Challenges

In today’s market, first-time home buyers face challenges repeat buyers don’t. Among them, saving for a down payment tops the list. Home prices are rising and, while current homeowners who are ready to move can use their increasing equity to cover some of the upfront costs of buying a home, first-time buyers have to save a down payment from scratch. That can be a challenge in a market where prices continue to climb. In fact, according to one recent analysis, to cover a 20 percent down payment on the typical starter home, the average renter would now have to save for a full year longer than they would’ve just five years ago. Fortunately, though, options exist. For one, a 20 percent down payment isn’t required. Most first-time buyers put down less than 20 percent and about a quarter of them put down 5 percent or less. And, with mortgage rates hovering just above historic lows, a smaller down payment doesn’t necessarily mean an unmanageable monthly mortgage bill. It can, however, mean a chance at becoming a homeowner – even in a challenging market. (source)

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