The average down payment for 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped to 15.73 percent of the home’s value in the third quarter this year, down 2.74 percent from the second quarter, according to a report from LendingTree. A news release about report, which detailed the average down payment percentages by state, highlighted the relationship between down payment averages and home prices.

“Lenders are putting more focus on purchase mortgages and are adjusting minimum requirements to attract borrowers,” said Doug Lebda, LendingTree founder and CEO. “With home values improving, the risk of borrowers defaulting on loans has decreased, giving lenders more confidence to lend with less cash down from qualified borrowers.”

The average down payment remains a higher percentage of the property price in states with some of the highest home values. In New Jersey, the average down payment is 18.8 percent of a home’s value. California (18.6 percent), New York (18 percent), the District of Columbia (17.9 percent) and Massachusetts (17.5 percent) round out the states with the highest average down payments. Those five are also among the six states with the highest home values, according the the U.S. Census Bureau.

Nebraska reported the lowest average down payments last quarter at 12.5 percent. Several Midwestern and Southern states had low averages, as well.

• Nebraska: 12.5 percent
• South Dakota 12.8 percent
• Arkansas 12.9 percent
• Alabama: 12.9 percent
• Missouri: 13.1 percent
• North Dakota: 13.2 percent
• Ohio: 13.4 percent
• Indiana: 13.5 percent
• Tennessee: 13.5 percent
• West Virginia: 13.7 percent

Consumers who are planning to buy a home should check their credit scores before they apply for a mortgage. A higher credit score can get you lower interest rates on a home loan, so if your credit scores are low, you might choose to take time to raise them so you can get a better interest rate. has a free tool that gives you access to your credit scores and a breakdown of your credit profile, updated monthly, which can help you track your progress as you build your credit.

By Christine DiGangi –