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Average Down Payments in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Vancouver

Sammamish Mortgage
July 27, 2017
Last updated:
September 9, 2021
Average Down Payments in Seattle Spokane Tacoma and Vancouver
In This Article

What kind of down payment do you need to get a mortgage in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, or Spokane? 

One of the first things on a homebuyer’s mind when considering a home purchase is the down payment.  That’s because the down payment is an integral part of the mortgage and home-buying process for Washington State homebuyers. 

How Much of a Down Payment Do You Need?

While you don’t have to come up with the full purchase price when you buy a home, you do still have to put forth a lump sum of money upfront when you apply for a mortgage in the form of a down payment. This money will go towards the purchase price of your home and reduces the amount you have to borrow. Unless you qualify for a zero down payment option through a VA loan, you’ll need a down payment.

But just how much of a down payment do you need when considering a purchase in the major metro areas of Washington State?

In order to illustrate, we looked at median home values for Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Vancouver — Washington’s four most populous cities — and determined what the average down payment would look like for some of the more common mortgage programs.

For each city, we used the following down payment levels:

  • Conventional 3% — The minimum down payment for a conventional (not insured by the federal government) mortgage loan in Washington State is 3% of the sales price. Currently, conventional mortgage financing is the most popular option among home buyers, with FHA and VA rounding out the top three.
  • FHA 3.5% — The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program is very popular in Washington state, particularly among first-time home-buyers with limited cash on hand. The minimum down payment for an FHA loan is 3.5% of the purchase price.
  • Conventional 10% — The average down payment in Washington state is very close to 10%, so we’ve included this metric for a peek at a broader statewide value.
  • Conventional 20% — most financial planners recommend a minimum down payment of 20% or more because it eliminates the need for private mortgage insurance, thus reducing the overall borrowing costs and monthly payments.

Average Down Payments For Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Vancouver

Now that we have defined some of the most popular mortgages, let’s look at the average down payments for Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Vancouver, based on median home values in August 2021.

Seattle, Washington

The hip Seattle scene is home to some of the most expensive real estate on the market. Home values have seen a steady rise over the last few years, and the past 12 months have been particularly strong for the Seattle real estate market. Home prices have soared over 13% over the past 12 months and are expected to maintain a similar pace over the next 12 months.

According to Zillow, the median home value for Seattle was $863,058 in August 2021. Using the current value as a guide, we get the following down payment amounts for various mortgage options.

  • 3% of median home price = $25,891
  • 3.5% (FHA) = $30,207
  • 10% = $86,305
  • 20% = $172,611

Today’s Seattle Mortgage Sep, 23, Thu, 2021

Spokane, Washington

Home prices in Spokane have skyrocketed over the recent past and are expected to continue in one of Washington’s hottest markets. Just over the past year alone, home prices in Spokane soared 26.3%. That’s an incredible spike which has given current homeowners a great opportunity to build home equity very quickly.

Still, Spokane represents a much more affordable side of the market than its sister, Seattle. In August 2021, Zillow reported that the median home value for the city of Spokane, Washington was $343,686. Here’s how that would play out with the down payment levels listed above.

  • 3% of median home price = $10,310
  • 3.5% (FHA) = $12,029
  • 10% = $34,368
  • 20% = $68,737

Live Spokane Mortgage Sep, 23, Thu, 2021

Tacoma, Washington

While the average home price for Tacoma is 100k more than Spokane, it is still one of the more affordable housing markets within the Seattle metro area. In August 2021, the median home value for the city was around $443,505.

Like other real estate markets across Washington State, Tacoma’s housing market has been sizzling this past year. From August 2020 to August 2021, home prices in Tacoma skyrocketed by 22.2%.  

Plugging that number into our four investment levels gives us the following down payment values:

  • 3% of median home price = $13,305
  • 3.5% (FHA) = $15,522
  • 10% = $44,350
  • 20% = $88,701

Live Tacoma Mortgage Sep, 23, Thu, 2021

Vancouver, Washington

House prices in Vancouver rose by 18.4% over the last year (when measured from August 2020 to August 2021). As a result, homebuyers in the city are facing higher housing costs and larger down payments. The median home value for Vancouver reached $442,588 in August of this year. Here’s what the down payments might look like for that price point.

  • 3% of median home price = $13,277
  • 3.5% (FHA) = $15,490
  • 10% = $44,258
  • 20% = $88,517

As you can see, the average down payments in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Vancouver vary quite a bit based on the fact that home prices are different from one center to another. The more expensive the housing market and the higher down payment percentage, the more you can expect to put down when you buy a home and apply for a mortgage.

Live Vancouver Mortgage Sep, 23, Thu, 2021

Some Good News for Home Buyers

It is a common misconception that borrowers will need 20% down to secure a mortgage and purchase a home. As you can see, well-qualified borrowers can secure a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3% with a conventional loan, or 3.5% for an FHA-insured mortgage loan. Military members and veterans may also be eligible for a VA home loan, which offers 100% financing (no money down).

These days, it is also important to consider the fact that many mortgage programs allow for down payment gifting from third parties. This means a family member, close friend, or even an employer can gift or donate funds to help offset down-payment expenses.

The bottom line? There is a lot more flexibility built into mortgage down payments than the average borrower realizes. That’s why it’s important to speak to a qualified mortgage professional about your financing options.

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Ready to Apply For a Mortgage in Washington?

If you’re curious about mortgages in Washington, Sammamish Mortgage can help. We are a local mortgage company based out of Bellevue, Washington, that has been serving the entire state, as well as Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado since 1992. Our mortgage financing professionals can work with you to help you determine which one of our mortgage programs is right for you. Contact us today with any questions you have about home loans in Washington.

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