Are you daydreaming about your ideal home? Perhaps it’s a trendy condo in RiNo, a spacious house in Southeast Aurora, or new construction in Castle Rock. No matter your dream home’s location or style, one common roadblock for many aspiring homeowners is the down payment. But here’s the good news: saving for your down payment might be much more achievable than you think.
The 20% Down Payment Myth
For a long time, the 20% down payment rule has been etched into the minds of aspiring homebuyers. It’s often seen as the benchmark for responsible home purchasing. Many people assume that they must save up a substantial sum, often tens of thousands of dollars, before they can even think about stepping into their dream home. However, this assumption is, for the most part, a myth.
The Reality: A Lower Average Down Payment
In reality, the average down payment made by homebuyers is far less than the often-feared 20%. According to a report from The Mortgage Reports, the average down payment for homes purchased in 2021 was around 12%. This figure should come as a relief for those who thought that saving 20% of a home’s purchase price was an insurmountable hurdle. In fact, many buyers qualify for down payments as low as 5-10%.
National Association of Realtors (NAR) Insight
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) sheds more light on this. They state, “The typical down payment for first-time buyers was 8%, which is the highest since 1997 when it was 9%. The typical down payment for repeat buyers was 19%, the highest since 2005 when it was 21%.” This data emphasizes that lower down payments are increasingly common, even for repeat buyers.
The Benefits of a Smaller Down Payment
So, what does this mean for you as a prospective homebuyer? It means that your dream of homeownership could be closer than you imagine. Here are some compelling reasons why a smaller down payment might be a viable and sensible option:
Get in the Game Sooner: With a lower down payment, you can start your homeownership journey sooner rather than later. You don’t have to wait years to accumulate a hefty 20% down payment.
Diversify Your Investments: Instead of tying up a significant portion of your savings in a down payment, you can consider other investment opportunities that might provide better returns.
Favorable Rate Forecasts: Mortgage rates are expected to experience fluctuations. As Realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale notes, “We expect a gradual reduction in mortgage rates, but it’s going to play out in fits and starts. We could see rates tick a little higher before they continue to fall.” This suggests that favorable rates may still be within reach.
Build Equity: Owning a home allows you to build equity over time. With a smaller down payment, you can start this wealth-building process earlier. For 11 straight years, surveys have shown that people believe real estate is a better investment than bonds, stocks, and even gold. This underscores the enduring value of homeownership.
What’s more, the financial benefits of owning a home are substantial. On average, the net worth of a homeowner is roughly 40 times greater than that of a renter. This means that when you buy a home, you’re not just securing a place to live; you’re also putting your money into an asset that can appreciate over time, significantly boosting your financial well-being.
Options for Smaller Down Payments
When it comes to making a smaller down payment on your home, you’re not limited to a single path. Several financing options cater to homebuyers who prefer a smaller upfront investment. Remember, the key to selecting the right financing option is understanding your unique financial situation and goals. To navigate these options effectively, it’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable mortgage lender who specializes in the Denver market. They can help you determine the best fit for your circumstances and guide you through the entire process.
The myth of the 20% down payment should no longer hold you back from pursuing your homeownership goals. With a variety of financing options designed to accommodate smaller down payments, your dream Denver home is well within reach.