Now at a mortgage lender near you: minimum down payments of 20 percent to buy a home.
At least that is what the Wall Street Journal recently reported. Back in 2006, before the housing bust, some buyers were able to buy home mortgages with nearly nothing down. But since then, down payments have mushroomed to a median of 22 percent last year on conventional mortgages in nine major U.S. cities, according to the Journal.
Thatâ€™s the highest median down payment required since the late 1990s. And itâ€™s a return to the days when buying that first house wasnâ€™t seen so much as an entitlement by some. It meant saving up for a down payment â€” first.
But saving a 20 percent payment â€” even with todayâ€™s depressed home prices â€” could take more than a few years for some first-time buyers. Brutal.
Buck up, the National Association of Realtors has easier-to-take stats. They say the average down payment nationally ranges from 4 percent for first time home buyers to 14 percent for second-time buyers.
And at Wells Fargo, qualified borrowers put down 3Â½ percent of FHA loans or up to 20 percent on conventional loans, says Jim Hines, a Wells Fargo spokesman.
So whatâ€™s with this 20 percent that keeps coming up?
Thatâ€™s the point when borrowers donâ€™t have to get mortgage insurance.