Low down payment: Mortgage insurance
Qualified borrowers can make down payments as low as 3 percent with private mortgage insurance, or PMI. For most borrowers, PMI costs less than Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance. But PMI has stricter credit requirements.
PMI has another edge over FHA: Once your mortgage balance is under 80 percent of the home's value, you can cancel PMI. You can't get rid of FHA insurance unless you refinance into a non-FHA loan.