One way the U.S. recognizes military service is through the VA loan program. And although a lot of veterans are eligible to take out mortgages through this program, this map shows how some places see a lot more loans guaranteed through the VA than others.
- Washington, DC is the most expensive location for VA guaranteed loans, averaging $588K, followed by Hawaii at $579K.
- California has the highest number of overall VA-guaranteed loans, with 130,700 loans going to members of the military and their families, averaging $439K.
- Vermont has the fewest number of VA loans, at only 1,243 last year, averaging $249K.
- Higher loan amounts roughly correspond to housing market trends, where more expensive locations on the East and West coasts tend to have pricier homes.
We gathered the data to create our map of VA home loan volume for FY 2020 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We color-coded each state to correspond to the average loan amount, with the darker shades of red representing higher average home loan amounts. We also added a shape to highlight the total number of loans, letting you easily and quickly understand the contributions of the VA to the U.S. housing market across the country.
Here’s how the VA loan program works at a high level. If an applicant meets certain criteria, he or she is eligible to take out a loan, underwritten by a bank but backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. The VA program allows the applicant to put $0 down and waives the requirement to carry private mortgage insurance (PMI). The program also comes with potentially lower loan interest rates, and it waives various other prepayment penalties and fees as well. In short, a VA loan can potentially save veterans a lot of money.
Our map brings to light a few different interesting trends about loan guarantees through the VA across the U.S. housing market. The vast majority of loan recipients in 2020 live along the country’s edges, stretching from Washington to California, through Texas to Florida and back up to Virginia. This means there are several notable high population centers with relatively few VA loans, and by extension, military veterans. New York only saw 10,700 VA loans last year. Illinois likewise had 22,000. Compare that to California and Texas, which had 130,700 and 103,700, respectively. There are lots of U.S. military bases around the country, so it’s not exactly clear why some high-population states have relatively few VA loans. That being said, our map makes it clear that most VA-backed mortgages were issued in 2020 along the coasts, not the country’s interior.
If you are eligible to take out a VA loan and are looking to get started, check out our VA home loan cost guide today.