Mortgage information website HSH.com recently reported that, on average, a Denver household or individual buyer must command a salary of $77,662.37 to afford a home selling for $396,100 with a 4.29% mortgage rate. If buyers can only afford a 10% down payment instead of the traditional 20%, the salary requirement increases to $91,273.24. Meanwhile, the average selling price of a single family home/condo in Denver is now even higher— $454,547—than the figure cited in the report.
It’s easy to be discouraged. But there is reason for hope as well.
Even in our expensive market, compact townhomes, studios, and fixer uppers, or homes farther from the city center, can be found at more affordable prices. Meanwhile, Denver metro millennials own homes at a higher rate (34%) than their peer group nationally (32.1%), notes the Denver Post. And options to help others get into the market are growing.
While many believe it’s necessary to save for a 20% down payment, a National Association of Realtors study, as reported by The Group, Inc., shows that the average down payment in 2016 was actually 11%; for borrowers under age 35, the amount was below 8%. Conventional and FHA loan products are now available for as little as 3% down. The Group notes other facts that could be helpful to millennials:
• Fannie Mae allows family members of first-time buyers to gift the value of a down payment without tax implications.
• Potential home buyers can borrow from a 401K to purchase a primary residence.
• Those who own a substantial asset outright, such as a car, can borrow against that asset and use the money for a down payment on a home.