Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Downpayment Requirements Stifles Demand

According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, the number one factor discouraging first time home buyers is the downpayment requirements asked for by most lenders. Downpayment requirements were too high for 82% of survey respondents. The following post from The Mortgage Roadmap, discusses how this is stifling demand in the market.

If you're a first-time homebuyer, there's probably one factor that's preventing you from buying a home: the downpayment.

It's always been a struggle for buyers to scrape together enough money for a downpayment. After all, homes aren't cheap. Who has $10,000 or more just lying around for a downpayment?

During the housing boom — which ran through a portion of 2006 — many lenders required borrowers to put down as little as 3 percent of a home's purchase price. Others didn't require any downpayment at all. This made life easier for borrowers, but helped push a slew of mortgage lenders into bankruptcy once the housing crash hit.

Today, lenders are more careful. Many of them are asking for higher downpayments. Some are asking for 20 percent down. It's a reason why so many potential homebuyers are now looking to obtain FHA financing: These loans only require a downpayment of 3-and-a-half percent.

Each year, the National Association of Realtors releases its National Housing Pulse Survey. It's always a fascinating read. This year's survey, for instance, revealed that coming up with a downpayment is is too much of an obstacle for 82 percent of today's homeowners.

The survey also revealed a home buying public that is terrified by the nation's weak economy. According to survey, two-thirds of U.S. residents consider job layoffs and unemployment as serious problems. A total of 80 percent of respondents pointed to them as serious impediments to buying a house.

It's a bit of a shame to see these numbers. Housing prices have dropped significantly from just one year ago. This means that housing is more affordable than ever. Unfortunately, at the same time, more U.S. residents are losing their jobs or seeing their annual income reduced. This sort of negates the benefits of increased housing affordability.

This article has been republished from The Mortgage Roadmap.

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