Special Report

Cities Where People Need the Smallest Downpayments to Buy Their Home

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High demand for housing during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with limited supply, created a strong sellers market that resulted in record-breaking home values. At the same time, mortgage lenders and sellers were able to demand concessions from buyers facing steep competition. While these conditions have changed drastically in recent months, buyers in many markets are still forced to put down a large down payment. 

According to realtor.com, a real estate data platform, the average down payment for a single family home hit 14% in 2022, up from 11% in 2019. Using the most recent national median home value as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, this means the average down payment rose from about $31,000 to over $39,000 in a three year period. (Here is a look at the states where home values increased the most during COVID.)

Still, there are parts of the country where homebuyers do not need a small fortune to afford a down payment. 

Using September 2022 home sale data, realtor.com compiled a list of cities where buyers do not need a large down payment. 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 U.S. metro areas with the lowest average down payments. Realtor.com considered the average down payment in America’s 300 largest metro areas, limiting the rankings to one per state to ensure geographic diversity. For each market we added relevant data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. 

Among the metro areas on this list, average down payments range from no more than 8.7% to as low as 4.3% of home sale prices. Perhaps not surprisingly, low down payments are more common in cities with lower home values. The median home purchase price on the places on this list ranges from $275,000 to $145,000, well below the national median home value of $281,400. (Here is a look at the cities with the cheapest housing.) 

The places on this list have low down payments partially due to certain benefits many local residents are entitled to. In many of the metros on this list many mortgage holders use federally backed loan assistance programs, including Veterans Affairs loans, U.S. Department of Agriculture loans, and Federal Housing Administration loans. These programs can reduce down payments to 3.5% or less. 

Click here to see the cities where people need the smallest downpayments to buy their home.

Click here to read our detailed methodology.

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10. Saginaw, MI
> Avg. down payment: 8.7%
> Median home purchase price: $160,000
> Homeownership rate: 71.7%
> Median monthly housing costs: $1,106 (incl. mortgage payments)
> Typical home size: 6.4 rooms
> Overall cost of living: 12.2% less expensive than avg.

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9. Johnstown, PA
> Avg. down payment: 8.6%
> Median home purchase price: $145,000
> Homeownership rate: 77.9%
> Median monthly housing costs: $973 (incl. mortgage payments)
> Typical home size: 6.7 rooms
> Overall cost of living: 15.7% less expensive than avg.

8. Springfield, OH
> Avg. down payment: 8.4%
> Median home purchase price: $157,000
> Homeownership rate: 70.4%
> Median monthly housing costs: $1,095 (incl. mortgage payments)
> Typical home size: 6.4 rooms
> Overall cost of living: 10.4% less expensive than avg.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

7. Odessa, TX
> Avg. down payment: 8.1%
> Median home purchase price: $275,000
> Homeownership rate: 67.2%
> Median monthly housing costs: $1,697 (incl. mortgage payments)
> Typical home size: 5.6 rooms
> Overall cost of living: 0.1% more expensive than avg.

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6. Florence, SC
> Avg. down payment: 8.0%
> Median home purchase price: $237,000
> Homeownership rate: 68.3%
> Median monthly housing costs: $1,138 (incl. mortgage payments)
> Typical home size: 6.2 rooms
> Overall cost of living: 11.9% less expensive than avg.

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5. Mobile, AL
> Avg. down payment: 7.6%
> Median home purchase price: $249,000
> Homeownership rate: 65.0%
> Median monthly housing costs: $1,224 (incl. mortgage payments)
> Typical home size: 6.6 rooms
> Overall cost of living: 10.7% less expensive than avg.

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4. Hattiesburg, MS
> Avg. down payment: 7.3%
> Median home purchase price: $220,000
> Homeownership rate: 65.4%
> Median monthly housing costs: $1,223 (incl. mortgage payments)
> Typical home size: 6.5 rooms
> Overall cost of living: 10.6% less expensive than avg.

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3. Topeka, KS
> Avg. down payment: 7.1%
> Median home purchase price: $159,777
> Homeownership rate: 69.6%
> Median monthly housing costs: $1,258 (incl. mortgage payments)
> Typical home size: 6.6 rooms
> Overall cost of living: 10.0% less expensive than avg.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

2. Monroe, LA
> Avg. down payment: 4.7%
> Median home purchase price: $192,000
> Homeownership rate: 64.6%
> Median monthly housing costs: $1,237 (incl. mortgage payments)
> Typical home size: 6.1 rooms
> Overall cost of living: 12.2% less expensive than avg.

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1. Fayetteville, NC
> Avg. down payment: 4.3%
> Median home purchase price: $239,900
> Homeownership rate: 57.1%
> Median monthly housing costs: $1,283 (incl. mortgage payments)
> Typical home size: 6.5 rooms
> Overall cost of living: 10.2% less expensive than avg.

Methodology

Using September 2022 home sale data, realtor.com compiled a list of cities where buyers do not need a large down payment. 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 U.S. metro areas with the lowest average down payments. Realtor.com considered the average down payment in America’s 300 largest metro areas, limiting the rankings to one per state to ensure geographic diversity. Metro areas are ranked by the average down payment percentage in Sept. 2022. Median home sale prices are also from realtor.com for the same period.

For each metro area on this list, we also considered the homeownership rate, median monthly housing costs for homeowners with a mortgage, and median home size by room count with data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. 

Data on overall cost of living is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and is for the year 2020.

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