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Residence Consumers in These U.S. Cities Pay the Largest Down Funds

In San Francisco home buyers make some of the highest down payments in the U.S.—shelling out a median of $383,500 in February, a 9.6% increase from a year ago, according to a Friday report by Redfin. 

San Francisco’s median down payment was so high, in part, because the typical buyer paid 25% of the purchase price of the home in February, the highest of all metropolitan areas, according to Redfin. San Francisco is followed by its neighbor San Jose, with a median down payment of $365,000, a surge of 24.9% since last year. 

Besides San Francisco and San Jose, five other California cities dominated the top-10 list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest down payments, including Anaheim ($259,800), Oakland ($181,000), Los Angeles ($173,000), San Diego ($152,000) and Sacramento ($82,750). 

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New York City was No. 6 on the list, with a median down payment of $172,250, an increase of 16% since last year, and Seattle was No. 7 on the list at $165,400, soaring 31% since last year. The highest-ranking Southern metro, West Palm Beach, Florida, came in at No. 11 with a median down payment of $80,000, which increased by 13% since last year. 

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Meanwhile, across the rest of the U.S., the typical home buyer’s downpayment hit $56,000 in February, a 24% annual increase. This is the largest year-over-year increase since August 2022. 

Mortgage rates are partly fueling the rise. Some buyers might choose a bigger down payment because it means a smaller total loan amount and lower monthly interest payments. 

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“Home buyers are doing whatever they can to pull together a large down payment to lower their monthly payments moving forward,” said Rachel Riva, a Redfin real estate agent in Miami. “The smallest down payment I’ve seen recently is 25%. I had one client who put down 40%.”

Price growth has also driven the increase in down payments. February home prices were up by 6.6% compared to the year before and the average down payment in February was 15% of the purchase price, up from 10% a year earlier. 

More than one in three homes were paid for in cash in February, a result of the elevated mortgage interest rates, according to Redfin. 

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Down payments may almost be rising because of a surge in housing values during the pandemic, leaving home buyers with a lot of equity from the sale of their previous home, according to Redfin. 

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