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Freddie Mac bets big on low down payment mortgages

1 in 5 borrowers put down 10% or less

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Here's the reality: Down payment requirements are not as ridiculously costly as people believe, according to Freddie Mac.

As proof, the government-sponsored enterprise said their purchase of mortgages with down payments under 10% more than quadrupled between 2009 and 2013.  

However, the demand for lower downpayment mortgage appears underwhelming.

Potential homebuyers seem significantly unaware that more than one in five borrowers who took out conforming, conventional mortgages this year put down 10% or less. 

According to a recent survey by Zelman & Associates, borrowers believe the percent requirement for a down payment is ridiculously higher than what is actually necessary, believing that lenders require equity of 11% to 15%. It's all spelled out on a recent blog post by Chris Boyle, the head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management with Freddie Mac.

“Zelman's survey of renters and people living in someone else's house is revealing. It's a wakeup call to the housing industry that we have more to do to let the next generation know they can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent (sometimes with as little as 3 percent coming out of their own pockets),”

What’s more is that the people surveyed are the people who should be in their prime homebuying years. 

The survey found that 38% of 25-29 year olds and 42% of 30-34 year olds said lenders demand minimum down payments of 15%.

As a whole, 39% said that the minimum down payment requirement is at least 15% of the purchase price.

Furthermore, only 28% were optimistic that they could qualify for a mortgage, including 30% of 25-29 year olds and 40% of 30-34 year olds, meaning that 72% of traditional “first-time” homebuyers could be underestimating chances for getting a mortgage. 

“Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5% or 10%,” Boyle explained.  

However, Boyle did note that borrowers putting down less than 20% will need to buy mortgage insurance.

And if 5% is still difficult, Trulia (TRLA) outlined simple, but feasible, ways people can save over $10,000 in as little as three years if they just cut back in various areas. 

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