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Buying a home: Don’t let the 20% down payment myth hold you back!

Saving up for a down payment can feel like a huge hurdle, especially when you hear that you will need 20% of the home’s price. But the truth is, you might not need to save as much as you think!

A bar graph shows the median down payment for homebuyers in the United States. The median down payment is 15% for all homebuyers and 8% for first-time homebuyers. The graph also shows that the common misconception is that buyers need a 20% down payment.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) the median down payment is actually only 15%, and for first-time homebuyers it’s even lower at just 8%. There are also many resources available to help you with your down payment, including:

  • FHA loans: These loans allow for a down payment as low as 3.5%.
  • VA loans: These loans require no down payment for qualified veterans and active-duty service members.
  • USDA loans: These loans are for rural areas and require no down payment for qualified borrowers.
  • Down payment assistance programs: There are many programs available to help with down payments, including grants and forgivable loans.

Here in Idaho,the Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) offers a variety of down payment assistance programs to help first-time homebuyers and repeat homebuyers purchase a home. These programs can provide you with up to 10% of the sales price of the home to use towards the down payment and/or closing costs. Idahoans who use this program can contribute as little as 0.5% of the sales price of their own funds to the purchase. To be eligible for IHFA down payment assistance, you must meet certain income limits and complete a homebuyer education course. For more information about IHFA, visit their website:

Buying a home is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be out of reach. With careful planning and the help of available resources, you can achieve your dream of homeownership.

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