Most Consumers Overestimate What It Takes to Get a Mortgage

A recent Fannie Mae survey finds most consumers believe that obtaining a mortgage requires a higher credit score and larger down payment than what is actually required. Of 3,647 respondents, 53 percent thought a credit score of 650 was needed, when many lenders actually accept scores as low as 580. Meanwhile, 40 percent admitted to not knowing how much money a borrower must put down on a home loan — as little as 3 percent — and fewer than a quarter were aware of low-down payment programs. Most consumers also expressed confusion about debt-to-income ratios, with 61 percent unable to state the allowable percentage. The study finds that consumer understanding about what it takes to qualify for a mortgage has not improved since Fannie Mae’s original study in 2015 and may hold people back from pursuing homeownership.

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