Pros and Cons of Using Securities as Down Payment

June 7, 1999, Revised September 7, 2007, Reviewed April 10, 2011

Using securities as a down payment for a house purchase allows owners to borrow more for investment, which makes sense for some but not all house purchasers.

"I can either put 20% down to avoid mortgage insurance, or I can invest the 20% in stock held by my broker, who would then finance 100% of the value of the house with no mortgage insurance. Assuming the rate and points are the same, is the broker plan a good idea or a bad idea?"

Your security broker and a number of others have home loan plans where they accept the deposit of securities in place of a down payment. If you purchase a house for $200,000, for example, the broker will lend you the entire $200,00, provided you deposit securities worth $40,000 with the broker. For the broker, the securities provide essentially the same protection against default as a down payment, while discouraging the customer from shifting the account to another broker.

These plans delay the accumulation of equity in the house indefinitely. The customer begins with no equity, and if the payment only covers the interest for the first 10 years, which is a common feature, the only equity buildup that occurs is from appreciation in the value of the property. The theory behind this is that the consumer's overall wealth will grow more rapidly if the maximum amount is invested in securities.

In the example, the consumer is in effect borrowing an additional $40,000 to invest in securities. Whether this turns out to be a good idea or a bad idea depends on the yield earned on the securities relative to the mortgage rate. It doesn't make sense to borrow $40,000 at 7% to invest in Government bonds yielding 5.5%. The consumers who do this are investing in common stock, which they expect will yield 9% or more over a long period. This makes sense for some borrowers, but not all. See Borrow on Your Mortgage to Invest in Common Stock?

Want to shop for a mortgage on a level playing field?

Why Shop for a Mortgage with the Professor?

  1. Receive His Help in Finding the Type of Mortgage That Best Meets Your Needs
  2. Shop Prices Posted Directly by His Certified Lenders
  3. Shop Prices Fully Adjusted to Your Deal
  4. Shop Prices That Are Always Current
  5. Get Him as Your Ombudsman Just in Case

Read More About the Support and Protections Listed Above

Sign up with your email address to receive new article notifications