How Much Cash Should You Put Towards a Home Down Payment?

For a home down payment, it’s generally best to put down at least 20%. But, this standard is not a requirement and it’s possible to put down less than 20%.

Tom Monaghan
Tom Monaghan

A home down payment is one of the largest upfront costs of purchasing a property.

Whether it’s your first time buying a home or you’re an experienced buyer, it’s important to understand how much cash you should expect to put towards your home down payment as you prepare for the purchase.

In reality, a home down payment is not one-size-fits-all.

Since the down payment is due at closing, buyers will need to determine how much they can afford to pay toward their home down payment. However, you should understand how your down payment amount impacts your mortgage eligibility and long-term repayment outlook.

To help you decide how much you should put toward your home down payment, let’s review:

  • The recommended standard for home down payments
  • Home down payment trends in recent years
  • Down payment assistance programs

What’s the Standard Amount for a Home Down Payment?

In the past, it has been typically recommended that homebuyers put down 20% of the home’s purchasing price toward the initial down payment.

While 20% was the norm for past generations, high prices make that difficult for most buyers.

Putting at least 20% toward your down payment is beneficial for buyers as it:

  • Positions you as a strong borrower for lenders, making it more likely for your loan application to be accepted
  • Potentially gives you access to preferable loan terms and benefits, like lower interest and waived fees
  • Reduces the principal balance of your home loan, making your mortgage loan more affordable down the road

In March of 2022, the National Association of REALTORS® reported that the median home sales price of existing homes was $375,300. If you were buying a home at this price, a 20% down payment would total $75,060.

  • For a home purchased for $300,000, a 20% down payment would total $60,000.
  • For a home purchased for $250,000, a 20% down payment would total $50,000.
  • For a home purchased for $200,000, a 20% down payment would total $40,000.

While 20% has been considered the general standard for home down payments, buyers are not technically required to make down payments this large.

In fact, home buying data from the past few years has indicated that most buyers do not put down 20% — and are actually making smaller down payments on average.

2019 Down Payment Trends

  • In 2019, the average down payment amount for all home buyers was 12%.
  • For first-time buyers, the average down payment amount was only 6%.
  • 13% of buyers also stated that saving for the down payment was the most difficult part of purchasing a home.

2020 Down Payment Trends

  • In 2020, the average down payment amount for all home buyers was also 12%.
  • For first-time buyers, the average down payment amount rose to 7%, while repeat buyers put down 16%.
  • 11% of buyers found the most difficult part of buying a home to be saving for the down payment.
Your agent and lender can help determine what is affordable and maintain a competitive offer.

2021 Down Payment Trends

  • In 2021, the average down payment amount for all home buyers remained steady at 12%.
  • For buyers aged 22 to 30, the median down payment was 6%. For buyers aged 66 to 74, the median down payment was 23%.
  • 11% of buyers found the most difficult part of buying a home to be saving for the down payment. For buyers 30 years and younger, 25% stated that saving for the down payment was the biggest challenge in buying a home.

Based on the data from the past three years, it’s clear that the average down payment amount has been 12% amongst all buyers. However, younger and first-time buyers have made down payments of 6% or lower.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

If you are finding it difficult to acquire the funds required for a down payment, you may want to consider down payment assistance programs. If you are eligible, you may be able to purchase a home with low or no money down.

Some options for down payment assistance programs include:

  • FHA Grants
  • Additional loans, including deferred and forgivable options
  • State and local down payment assistance programs
  • Personal gifts from relatives and friends

If you have questions about your eligibility for down payment assistance or would like to learn more, speak to your real estate agent and mortgage lender.

A professional, trustworthy, and experienced real estate team is an essential asset for homebuyers. To begin forming your real estate team, start by getting in touch with a top agent in your market.


If you use RealEstateAgents.com to find the best real estate agents in your area, you can sort your search results to your specific needs — including agents that specialize in affordable home buying.

Buying
Tom Monaghan

Tom Monaghan