8% of buyers got down payment help from family this year: Survey

Publish Date: July 03, 2023

Written by Jim Dalrymple II

- Originally published at Inman News - Jim Dalrymple II

A new survey of 1,700 real estate agents this spring found that homebuyers in the Northeast and in Southern California were the most likely to get financial help from their family.

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A new survey shows that as mortgage rates have soared and affordability remains challenging, 8 percent of recent homebuyers received down payment assistance from family members.

The new data comes from John Burns Research and Consulting, which surveyed 1,700 real estate agents this spring. The 8 percent figure represents the share of homebuyers across the entire U.S. who received assistance from parents or relatives over the past six months, as reported by the surveyed agents.

But the survey also found significant regional variation. For example, 13 percent of buyers in the Northeast received help from family members — the highest percentage of any region in the country. Coming in a close second was Southern California, where 11 percent of homebuyers got family help for their down payment.

The Southwest came in third, with 9 percent of buyers getting family down payment assistance, according to the surveyed agents, followed by the Northwest at 8 percent.

Credit: John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Probably not coincidentally, the areas where the most number of buyers were getting help also tend to be expensive regions. The Northeast, for example, is home to pricey metros such as New York and Boston. Southern California, of course, is home to Los Angeles and San Diego.

Alternatively, the survey found that in relatively affordable Texas and Florida, only 4 percent and 3 percent of buyers, respectively, received down payment help from their families.

Rick Palacios Jr.

John Burns regularly surveys real estate agents, but the inquiry about family help on down payments was a “question of the month” — meaning the company only just began tracking the topic. However, Rick Palacios Jr. — managing principal and director of research at John Burns – said the survey will ask agents about the topic in future months to see how the figures change over time.

In a tweet Monday, Palacios also said he expects the numbers to go up.

Either way, though, the findings come as affordability remains fleeting for many homebuyers. Recent years have seen home prices skyrocket, including during the COVID-19 pandemic when many markets hit all time average highs. Over the past year, however, mortgage have also risen at a record pace, driving up borrowing costs and monthly payments for buyers.

Average 30-year mortgage rates ultimately rose above 7 percent last year. They’ve since fallen in the 6 percent range, but extremely low inventory has meant home prices haven’t actually fallen significantly as rates went up.

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