Blog 31417Down Payment Resource reports that in January, 65 percent of first-time home buyers only put down a zero to six percent down payment, a decrease from 66 percent in December. Among all buyers whose transactions closed in January, 62 percent of those who obtained a mortgage made a down payment of less than 20 percent, the same percentage as in December.

However, the percentage increased for other types of loans. According to Ellie Mae Origination Insights Report, average down payments for January included (1) all loans, LTV 78 percent, 22 percent average down payment; (2) FHA Purchases, LTV 96 percent, 4 percent average down payment; (3) Conventional Purchase, LTV 80 percent, 20 percent average down payment; and (4) VA purchase, LTV 98 percent, 2 percent average down payment.

There are some new programs targeted to homebuyers who do not have adequate money for down payments on a home. Overlooked and disadvantaged communities may also soon benefit from these funds. “Last year, more homes were sold in America than any year since 2006. Yet the housing recovery is bypassing dozens of communities and millions of Americans,” according to the Down Payment Resource, a service that tracks approximately 2,400 homebuyer programs.

By giving buyers an incentive to choose a home in languishing neighborhoods, these programs are catalysts for change, according to Rob Chrane, CEO, Down Payment Resource. “New owners invest in their communities, stimulating growth and community revival. Down payment assistance can leverage a minor investment into turning communities around and putting young families on a path to homeownership.”

Funds for down payments are available through federal programs like the Treasury Department’s Capital Magnet Fund and TARP’s Hardest Hit Fund that may be able to help. In addition, state housing finance agencies are launching new down payment assistance programs to bring the housing recovery to overlooked urban and rural neighborhoods.

In addition, innovative state and local housing finance agencies are the key to turning federal initiatives into local opportunities that improve lives and build communities. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and the Tennessee Housing Development Agency are just two of a number of agencies pioneering the targeted application of down payment assistance to communities and neighborhoods that need it the most.

Continue reading.