CHN Blog

Homebuyers dig deep for down payments

Got money? You will need a big down payment to compete for homes in the Bay Area and Southern California, according to a new report.

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By Ron Trujillo/

Hefty down payments get attention – and often the house. Just ask deep-pocketed homebuyers in the Bay Area and Southern California.

Four of the cities with the largest median down payments in the nation were in California during the third quarter, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

San Jose – the center of Silicon Valley – had the highest median down payment in the nation at $247,000, followed by a distant second-place San Francisco at $170,000.

However, it should be noted that even with the big dollars, those are relatively small percentage down payments for the median-home prices in San Jose (19.2%) and San Francisco (11.3%).

Los Angeles ($118,000) and Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura ($105,000) finished in third- and fourth-place, respectively. The Southern California down payments were a larger percentage at 22.2% and 16.4%, respectively, than many other parts of the state.

Homebuyers in 12 of the 99 largest metro regions had down payments of at least $50,000, including San Diego.

Homebuyers in the Bay Area and Southern California have enjoyed impressive gains in home prices, and a record-setting stock market is also helping consumers to post significant down payments.

In lower-priced regions of the state, the median down payment was much lower — $25,000 in Riverside and San Bernardino counties (Inland Empire), $15,400 in Fresno and $8,575 in Bakersfield.

The national median down payment reached a record $20,000 during the July-through-September period.

Featured photo by Nathan Sohm/Shutterstock.

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Climbing home prices, declining inventory and more competition for those listed are demanding much-better credit scores for home shoppers needing a mortgage.

The average homebuyer in California had a credit score of 754 during the third quarter, a slight increase from the 751 in the second quarter, according to CoreLogic. The Golden State had the fourth-highest average credit score in the nation, with Hawaii at the top spot at 764.

The average U.S. homebuyer had an average credit score of 746 during the third quarter, compared to 739 for the same three-month period in 2016.

Credit scores continue to increase as the economy and housing market improve. Fewer than 2% of homebuyers approved for mortgages had credit scores of 640 or less during the third quarter, while 25% had scores that low in 2001, according to the quarterly CoreLogic report.

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