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What you need for a downpayment in the Boston-area housing market, explained

Prospective buyers will need to squirrel away quite a bit of savings a month to reach the median downpayment in Greater Boston, a new report says

The exteriors of three apartment buildings in Boston. The center facade has orange brick. The facade on the left is red brick. The facade on the right is tan and white. Shutterstock

The median downpayment for a Boston-area home was $76,500 as of the tail end of 2019, according to a report from real estate listings and research site Realtor.com.

The finding highlights one of the biggest hurdles for many in buying a condo or a house in the region. The price tags are one thing—the same Realtor.com report pegged the median home sale price at $472,000, including southern New Hampshire, and other reports have pegged it much higher—but the initial downpayment is something else entirely.

To underscore that, the new report showed how much a prospective buyer would need to save per month to afford the median downpayment in one, three, and five years. In five years, it would be $1,219 a month; in three, $2,070; and, in one, $6,323. (These could be seen as essentially second rent checks every month.)

The savings sums—and the downpayment median itself—are high compared with many of the other metros that Realtor.com tracked. To afford the median downpayment in New York of $71,600, a buyer would need to save $1,141 a month over five years, $1,937 over three years, and $5,918 over one year.

In D.C., a buyer would need to save $516 a month over five years, $877 over three years, and $2,678 over one year to afford the median downpayment of $32,400. See the breakout below for more comparisons.

The report assumed an annual interest rate for saving of 1.8 percent; and Realtor.com calculated the median downpayments from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

The report did not break out any reasons for why some metros are more onerous than others as far as saving for downpayments. But the reasons in Boston are well-known, and include limited housing supply, a lot of residents affluent enough to afford the prices, and a high level of demand amid population and job growth.