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The biggest hurdle to buying a house in Miami? Coming up with the down payment

A new study shows coming up with a down payment is the biggest hurdle facing aspiring Miami home buyers.
A new study shows coming up with a down payment is the biggest hurdle facing aspiring Miami home buyers. AP

A new survey of aspiring home owners around the U.S. confirms what Miami renters already know: Rents are so high, there’s not enough money left over to save up for a down payment.

According to the first Zillow Housing Aspiration Report (ZHAR), a new semi-annual survey of 10,000 renters from 20 major metro markets across the country, 67.9 percent of people in the U.S. say coming up with a down payment is the main reason keeping them from buying a home.

In Miami, 64.7 percent of respondents cited the same problem. Qualifying for a mortgage was the second-biggest hurdle for Miami residents (54.6 percent). Existing debt was third (45.4 percent). Job security was fourth (42.6 percent).

Miami’s mid-market (under $300,000) housing crunch is so dire, observers have already suggested it could take a toll on the city’s economy. According to the Miami Association of Realtors, the median price of single-family homes in Miami-Dade County rose 18.8 percent to $321,000 in February 2017. Condos went for $220,000, an increase of 6.3 percent.

The down payment hurdle plagues all age groups: 69.2 percent of millennials (ages 18-34), 68.5 percent of Generation Xers (35-54) and 64.3 percent of Baby Boomers (55 and older) all pointed to the same issue as their biggest obstacle.

Even income didn’t make a difference: 67.3 percent of respondents in the highest income bracket ($70,000 and more per year) cited down payments as their main hurdle, compared to 65.9 percent of people in the lowest bracket ($35,000 and under).

There’s one bit of good news for renters in Miami: The Zillow report claims the city is one of only two of the largest 35 U.S. metro regions where paying a mortgage is more expensive than rent. (San Jose is the other).

Rene Rodriguez: 305-376-3611, @ReneMiamiHerald

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