Recent home buyers are making higher down payments than buyers in the previous years due to stricter credit requirements, according to the 2011 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. This annual survey by the NAR evaluates demographics, preferences, marketing and experiences of recent home buyers and sellers. The median down payment for all home buyers was 11 percent, ranging from 5 percent for first-time buyers to 15 percent for repeat buyers. The down payment size for both repeat buyers and first-time buyers was a full percentage point higher than in the 2010 study.
The median price paid by repeat buyers in the survey was 2.1 percent higher than in the 2010 study, but their income was 11.0 percent greater, despite lower interest rates. First-time buyers paid 1.9 percent more, but their income was 4.2 percent higher.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU—Increased down payment requirements make homes less affordable even though interest rates are at historic lows. For example, if a buyer has $200,000 in cash to use as a down payment, but is required to put 25% down instead of 20%, the buyer will be limited to an $800,000 home versus a home priced at $1M.