President-elect Donald Trump has enough problems on his hands as his administration takes shape, with the economy, health care, geopolitical strife and a divided country all on his plate.
Chances are, dealing with a weakening real estate market, especially related to lower down payments, hasn't entered his mind.
According to the November Down Payment Report, from Down Payment Resource, median down payments from first-time home buyers fell to just 4% of the home's value, down from 6% in 2015. At the same time, home down payments for FHA-backed loans are also at 4%, signaling that homebuyers aren't saving enough for home down payments, and thus face higher monthly mortgage payments.
There's one school of thought that says homebuyers aren't putting serious money down on a purchase, because they don't have to.
"U.S. homebuyers are putting less down to purchase homes due to the wide availability of low- and no-down payment loans such as FHA loans, Fannie Mae's HomeReady program, a resurgence of 'piggy-back mortgages' and other programs," says Erin Sheckler, president of NexTitle, a full-service title and escrow company located in Belleview, Wash. "Meanwhile, USDA and VA loans also do not require any down payment whatsoever."
Sheckler also notes that lending requirements have begun to ease nationwide, thus giving homebuyers more wiggle room with home down payments. "According to Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report, in August, home buyer down payments varied by loan program but, in nearly all cases, down-payments were near minimums," says Sheckler.
Sheckler also doesn't expect the low down payment trend to end anytime soon.