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Economy

The Down Payment Is Too Damned High

But the federal government’s best answer for renters’ number-one obstacle to first-time homeownership could be facing a big reform push in Congress.
"Who wants to put down the down payment for the next round?"
"Who wants to put down the down payment for the next round?"Brennan Linsley/AP

In a lot of places, renters would be better off as buyers: Making a mortgage payment in almost all of the 35 largest metro areas in the U.S. is cheaper than paying the monthly rent. But renters are having trouble getting over one specific road block to homeownership. That hump is the down payment.

Almost 70 percent of renters across the nation’s 20 largest metro areas cite the down payment as the number-one obstacle to owning a home, according to a report just released by Zillow. Insufficient credit, all-too-sufficient debt, and a lack of job security follow as reasons why renters are unable to buy homes.