According to LendingTree, the national average down payment on a home today is 12.29 percent. However, in New Jersey borrowers are putting down nearly 1.5 percent more than that, making down payments in New Jersey the highest in the country at 13.76 percent[1]. The state is followed closely by Washington, D.C. with 13. 54 percent, New York with 13.51 percent, Hawaii with 13.37 percent, and California with 13.25 percent. However, if you don’t have this much of a down payment available, it doesn’t mean you can’t buy in these states, LendingTree analysts said. Since these numbers are averages of down payments, they are basically indicative of more higher-priced housing in the area. Since lenders require higher down payments on bigger mortgage loans, it is not surprising that these regions would have higher average down payments, said the analysts[2].

Although most lenders have tightened lending requirements in recent years, there are still many government-backed loans out there that may require down payments as low as 3.5 percent. These loans generally can be made on mid-priced homes and may be related to service to country, as in the case of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans or available through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. President of the New Jersey Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Michael DiSalvio emphasizes that “5 percent money is out there [and] it is widely available” if buyers know where to look and what to ask for. Although there may be more fees associated with loans with lower down payments, many homeowners feel that the lower down payment is worth it because it makes it possible for them to actually purchase a home.

Do you think that the national down payment amounts are too high?

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[1] http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2012/01/06/which-states-have-highest-down-payments

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/realestate/new-jersey-in-the-region-state-leads-nation-in-down-payment-size.html