How much you need for a down payment on a house in America's 20 largest cities

  • You may need up to 20% for a down payment, depending on which type of mortgage you get.
  • We’ve calculated how much you’ll need for 10%, 15%, and 20% down in America’s 20 biggest cities.
  • A 20% down payment ranges from $34,311 in Indianapolis to $280,265 in San Francisco.
  • See Insider’s picks for the best mortgage lenders »

Buying a home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, and it all starts with making a down payment. 

Depending on which type of mortgage you get, you could need up to 20% for a down payment. To get an idea of how this will look for many Americans, we’ve calculated how much you’d need for a 10%, 15%, or 20% down payment in the 20 largest US cities. We’ve based these numbers on each city’s typical home value through December 31, 2020, according to Zillow.

You may choose to place less than 10% upfront, but these numbers can still give you a good idea of how much you’ll want to save.

How much you’ll need for a down payment in America’s 20 largest cities

CityTypical home value20% down payment15% down payment10% down payment
New York City, NY$655,981$131,196$98,397$65,598
Los Angeles, LA$802,702$160,540$120,405$80,270
Chicago, IL$276,878$55,376$41,532$27,688
Houston, TX$202,538$40,508$30,381$20,254
Phoenix, AZ$302,963$60,593$45,444$30,296
Philadelphia, PA$206,623$41,325$30,993$20,662
San Antonio, TX$199,630$39,926$29,945$19,963
San Diego, CA$730,048$146,010$109,507$73,005
Dallas, TX$240,473$48,095$36,071$24,047
Austin, TX$446,572$89,314$66,986$44,657
San Jose, CA$1,116,087$223,217$167,413$111,609
Fort Worth, TX$225,200$45,040$33,780$22,520
Jacksonville, FL$210,432$42,086$31,565$21,043
Columbus, OH$188,446$37,689$28,267$18,845
Charlotte, NC$275,278$55,056$41,292$27,528
Indianapolis, IN$171,554$34,311$25,733$17,155
San Francisco, CA$1,401,327$280,265$210,199$140,133
Seattle, WA$804,487$160,897$120,673$80,449
Denver, CO$492,813$98,563$73,922$49,281
Washington DC$667,863$133,573$100,179$66,786

How much do you need for a down payment on a house?

So, do you need 10% to 20% for a down payment on your house? It depends on which type of mortgage you get.

If you apply for a conforming mortgage — which is what you probably think of as a “regular mortgage” — you may be able to put down as little as 3% if the mortgage is backed by government-sponsored mortgage companies Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Otherwise, you’ll need a 10% down payment.

For a jumbo mortgage, which is a loan for a larger amount, many lenders require at least 20%.

You may qualify for a government-backed mortgage, which is loan insured by a federal government agency. These loans are less risky for lenders, so they require lower down payments. An FHA mortgage needs a 3.5% down payment, while a VA mortgage and USDA mortgage don’t call for any down payment.

Benefits of placing a larger down payment

There are perks to having more than the minimum down payment. Lenders typically reward higher down payments to get lower interest rates. Locking in a lower rate could save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

If you get a conventional mortgage, or a loan not backed by a government agency, you may want at least a 20% down payment. Conventional mortgages require you to pay for private mortgage insurance if you place less than 20% upfront. PMI typically costs between 0.2% to 2% of your mortgage principal, or $200 to $2,000 for every $100,000 you borrow.

You may determine it’s worth it to make an offer on a home before saving 20% for a down payment. Just weigh the pros and cons before making your decision.

Laura Grace Tarpley is the associate editor of banking and mortgages at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.

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