While lowering the down payment on a mortgage may clear one major hurdle to homeownership, a report released by RealtyTrac Tuesday revealed that a monthly mortgage payment is affordable to those with additional non-mortgage debt in less than half of the counties in the U.S. In their analysis, RealtyTrac discovered that lowering the down payment for a conventional mortgage loan from 20 percent to 3 percent would still not translate to housing affordability for a majority of those with non-mortgage debt such as student loans or a car payment.
RealtyTrac's report found that for those without additional debt, the monthly mortgage payment was still affordable in 92 percent of county housing markets even with just a 3 percent down payment. But for those with an average monthly car payment and an average monthly student loan payment, the report found that the monthly mortgage payment was affordable in only 48 percent of county housing markets when a 3 percent down payment was made. That percentage jumps from 48 percent to 78 percent for those with additional debt when they make a 20 percent down payment
A federal judge ruled on Monday that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 does not allow for so-called "disparate impact" claims, which are allegations that can be made based on neutral practices that may unintentionally have a discriminatory effect. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled earlier this week that only claims of direct, intentional discrimination could be made under the Fair Housing Act. Leon said that the belief of those in the Obama administration who interpret the Fair Housing Act to allow disparate impact claims "appears to be nothing more than wishful thinking on steroids."