BAM Key Details: 

  • Realtor.com released its latest down payment report for the first quarter of 2024, showing an annual increase in the median down payment—up 3 percentage points and about $12,000 from Q1 2023.
  • The median down payment in Q1 2024 was $26,000, an average of 13.6% down. 
  • Despite the drop from their peak in Q3 2023, down payments are still well above pre-pandemic levels as today’s homebuyers pay 87.8% more on down payments in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2020. 

The median down payment in the first quarter of 2024 was $26,000—an average of 13.6% down, according to Realtor.com’s latest down payment report

Based on its analysis of down payment trends at the national, state, and (top 100) metro levels, down payments have climbed three percentage points (roughly $12,000) from the first quarter of 2023. 

Realtor-dot-com_Median-down-payment-percentage-hits-Q1-peak_graph

Source: Realtor.com

And while they’ve fallen from the record high set in Q3 2023, down payments are still well above pre-pandemic levels. Buyers put 87.8% more as a down payment in Q1 2024 ($26,400) than they did in Q1 2020 ($14,000). 

The current housing market’s overall unaffordability has an impact on who is buying homes right now. Given persistently high home prices and elevated mortgage rates, many of today’s purchasers are likely either high-earners or repeat buyers leveraging existing home equity to use as a down payment, and this may explain why down payments have dipped but remained relatively high.

Danielle Hale

Realtor.com Chief Economist

Key takeaways

Here are the key takeaways from the Realtor.com down payment trends report: 

  • Down payments in Q1 2024 rose to an average of 13.6% down—or $26,000—marking the highest recorded first-quarter average. 
  • Down payments are still down from the all-time high of 14.7% ($30,400) set in Q3 2023. 
  • The average down payment percentage grew 0.6 percentage points ($2,300) year over year.  
  • The typical down payment dollar amount grew in all but eight states.
  • The top U.S. metros where buyers made the largest down payments were all high-end California markets. Down payments rates are highest in these metros because larger loan amounts incentivize buyers to put down as much as possible to reduce their monthly mortgage payments. Also, buyers in these expensive markets tend to have more money to put toward a down payment.

Metros with the largest down payments:

  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA (24.00% for a median down payment of $213,267)
  2. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA (24.10% – Median down payment: $206,033)
  3. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA (24.20% – Median down payment: $201,617)
  4. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA (24.50% – Median down payment: $168,683) 
  5. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (21.50% – Median down payment: $149,332)
  6. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA (20.00% – Median down payment: $128,813)
  7. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA (20.50% – Median down payment: $128,467)

Metros with the fastest growing down payments in Q1 2024:

  1. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA (Average down payment: 24.5% — up 4.7% YOY)
  2. Modesto, CA (16.0% — up 3.9%)
  3. Stockton, CA (16.7% — up 3.1%)
  4. New Haven-Milford, CT (16.0% — up 3.0%)
  5. Springfield, MO (13.60% — up 2.80%)

States with the largest down payment percentage growth in Q1 2024:

  1. New Hampshire (from 17.50% in Q1 2023 to 20.90% in Q1 2024 – up 3.4 ppts)
  2. Rhode Island (from 14.40% to 16.70% — up 2.3 ppts)
  3. Connecticut (from 13.90% to 15.70% — up 1.8 ppts)
  4. New Jersey (from 16.30% to 18.00% — up 1.7 ppts)
  5. Washington (from 15.50% to 17.20% — up 1.7 ppts)

States where down payments declined year over year (Q1 2023 to Q1 2024): 

  1. Montana (17.6% in Q1 2024 — down 1.4 percentage points from Q1 2023)
  2. Washington D.C. (19.0% — down 1.2 ppts) 
  3. Wyoming (13.1% — down 1.2 ppts)
  4. Oklahoma (11.1% — down 0.3 ppts) 
  5. South Carolina (13.3% — down 0.3 ppts)
  6. Utah (14.8% — down 0.2 ppts)
  7. Florida (14.3% — down 0.1 ppts)
  8. Delaware (15.8% — down 0.1% ppts)
  9. Texas (11.2% — unchanged from Q1 2023, while the down payment amount dropped year over year by 17.2%)
  10. North Dakota (13.0% — down 0.6 ppts)

Measured in dollars, down payments on second homes and investment properties in Q1 2024 were three and even four times larger than for primary homes. 

Despite a slight decrease from their peak, current buyers are still shelling out higher down payments compared to pre-pandemic norms. This trend may stem from intense local competition from a lack of homes for sale, compelling some to increase down payments to win the home, while others aim to lower their monthly payments by putting more down and taking out a smaller loan.

Hannah Jones

Realtor.com Sr. Economic Research Analyst

Read the full report for more information, including charts and methodology.