Not available online, an article headlined "Home Buying 101" in the Spring 2013 "Real Estate & Homes" supplement to the Vineyard Gazette quotes Polly K. Bassett, the "co-owner and a broker of Martha's Vineyard Mortgage Company, L.L.C." She says, "We have access to a wide range of programs such as USDA, which is a program where you can put no money down, 100 per cent financing, and we also do a 97 percent financing with three per cent down....There are a lot of programs out there for people buying their first home."
Buy your first home on Martha's Vineyard with zero percent or three percent down? This might be a good idea for a borrower if prices go up, but it's not a good idea for a lender if the price goes down. "USDA" isn't explained in the article, but it might be a U.S. Department of Agriculture program for farm property, which means the lender is us, the taxpayers. And the Federal Housing Administration has a three-percent down program, which means, again, the taxpayers are on the hook.
This would be a fine topic for a congressional hearing; if the Vineyard Gazette is going to write about it, a little more skepticism would go a long way.