How Much You Need for a Down Payment on a House

  • You may need up to 20% for a down payment, depending on which type of mortgage you get.
  • We’ve calculated how much you’ll need for 10%, 15%, and 20% down in America’s 20 biggest cities.
  • A 20% down payment ranges from $40,730 in Indianapolis to $308,469 in San Francisco.
  • See Insider’s picks for the best mortgage lenders »

Buying a home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, and it all starts with making a down payment. 

Depending on which type of mortgage you get, you could need up to 20% for a down payment. To get an idea of how this will look for many Americans, we’ve calculated how much you’d need for a 10%, 15%, or 20% down payment in the 20 largest US cities. We’ve based these numbers on each city’s typical home value tin January 2022, according to Zillow.

You may choose to place less than 10% upfront, but these numbers can still give you a good idea of how much you’ll want to save.

How much you’ll need for a down payment in America’s 20 largest cities

How much do you need for a down payment on a house?

So, do you need 10% to 20% for a down payment on your house? It depends on which type of mortgage you get.

If you apply for a conforming mortgage — which is what you probably think of as a “regular mortgage” — you may be able to put down as little as 3% if the mortgage is backed by government-sponsored mortgage companies Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Otherwise, you’ll need a 10% down payment.

For a jumbo mortgage, which is a loan for a larger amount, many lenders require at least 20%.

You may qualify for a government-backed mortgage, which is loan insured by a federal government agency. These loans are less risky for lenders, so they require lower down payments. An FHA mortgage needs a 3.5% down payment, while a VA mortgage and USDA mortgage don’t call for any down payment.

Benefits of placing a larger down payment

There are perks to having more than the minimum down payment. Lenders typically reward higher down payments to get lower interest rates. Locking in a lower rate could save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

If you get a conventional mortgage, or a loan not backed by a government agency, you may want at least a 20% down payment. Conventional mortgages require you to pay for private mortgage insurance if you place less than 20% upfront. PMI typically costs between 0.2% to 2% of your mortgage principal, or $200 to $2,000 for every $100,000 you borrow.

You may determine it’s worth it to make an offer on a home before saving 20% for a down payment. Just weigh the pros and cons before making your decision.

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