The original thought behind examining the size of down payments was to get a feel for the buyers’ intentions – figuring that if they put down a healthy chunk of change, that they probably planned to live there long-term.

But it also helps illustrate who is buying – people with substantial funds available.

Here are the down-payment stats for the Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and RSF detached sales for June – where the average price was $1,391,764, at an average of $415/sf:

Amt of Down Pmt Number of Sales
0-19% 6
20% 14
25% 7
30-50% 10
51%+ 5
Cash 6

Short sales: 5

Bank-owned sales: 2

Number sold for less than the sellers paid:  18 (37.5%)

Sold before MLS input: 2

So far this month, 44% of the buyers are using at least 30% down payments on very expensive properties.  Yes, the lenders are demanding bigger down payments, but the fact that people have the dough, and are willing to invest it in spite of the headlines, is a healthy sign.

It helps identify the competition for the top-quality properties too – where you will likely be bidding against people with ample horsepower.  Strategize accordingly.

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