1 out of 6 home buyers get down payment assistance from the seller. Here’s what that tells us.

A loan officer talks on the phone while a customer signs for a new mortgage in Boston, Massachusetts.

How do Americans come up with the funds they need for a down payment?

Many of the sources are familiar: savings or family help for first-time buyers, or the proceeds of a sale for those moving up to a second or third home. But one may be more surprising. According to a survey published Tuesday by Freddie Mac, 16% of buyers said they’d had help from their home’s seller.

In some ways, the concept of a seller subsidy seems strange in the housing market, where deals are both personal and individual.

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