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- How much you need to save for a down payment depends on the price of the house.
- The standard down payment is 20% of the purchase price, but many first-time buyers put down less money up front and take on a bigger mortgage.
- For down payments below 20%, the lender will typically require private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is an extra monthly payment on top of a mortgage payment.
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Buying a home requires a lot of planning, and it usually starts with saving for a down payment.
Experts have long recommended putting down 20% of the purchase price up front, if you can afford it, and financing the rest with a mortgage. In this case, you won’t have to get private mortgage insurance (PMI) — which would require extra monthly payments on top of your mortgage — and you may get more favorable loan terms, specifically lower interest rates.
But according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), some 60% of homebuyers put down 6% or less of the purchase price. And 58% of buyers said the money came from their savings.
While millennials may be buying cheaper homes than Gen Xers and baby boomers at a median price of $238,000, they’re putting down less money up front, according to an earlier report by Realtor.com. Millennials are the generation now responsible for the largest share of new mortgages by dollar volume — they put down just 8.8% of the purchase price, on average.
Below, we’ve calculated how much buyers need for a 10%, 15%, and 20% down payment based on median home sale prices in the largest US metro areas sourced from Zillow. Data on median sale price was not available for Detroit and Houston, so median listing price was used.
Even if you end up putting down less than 10%, these can be good benchmarks for saving — any money that isn’t used for the down payment could go toward closing costs or insurance payments.
20. Detroit, Michigan, median home price: $189,900*
James R. Martin/Shutterstock
10% down payment: $18,990
15% down payment: $28,485
20% down payment: $37,980
*Median price of homes currently listed
19. Tampa, Florida, median home price: $205,200
Shutterstock / Bonnie Fink
10% down payment: $20,520
15% down payment: $30,780
20% down payment: $41,040
18. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, median home price: $208,800
10% down payment: $20,880
15% down payment: $31,320
20% down payment: $41,760
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