PETER RUDEGEAIR, Reuters,

Getting a mortgage in the United States may be easier than many borrowers think, according to a survey released Monday by Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), the largest U.S. mortgage lender.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents thought that a very good credit score was necessary to buy a home, and more than 40 percent thought they needed a down payment equal to at least 20 percent of the purchase price to buy a home.

Under government-backed programs, first-time home buyers with subprime credit scores can get a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and they can put down as little as 3.5 percent of the purchase price.

Since the financial crisis, lenders have clamped down on mortgage credit. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index, which measures the ease with which borrowers can take out a home loan based on credit scores, loan-to-value ratios and other factors, fell by more than 80 percent from early 2007 through August 2014.

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