The answer will vary according to price range and of course the credit history of the individual client. My relocating clients are generally using the conventional loan products - however those who are not able to put 20-30% down and have credit scores around 700, may find that the PMI requirements will affect the interest rates they are offered right now. VA has been utilised less often by repeat buyers as the increased VA funding fee has been a turn off. FHA limits have been increased so more buyers will be able to consider this option. I always advise clients to consider an experienced loan officer in the area they are purchasing as the best source for detailed, correct loan info plus excellent customer service. Especially right now with lending criteria changing. Clients who are most frustrated with their lenders are not able to see them face to face as they have "found" them on the internet. Not that you cannot have a good internet lender, just get that company from a friend or REALTOR via a referral.
I think if you ask this question to many Realtors in Spokane you will get many answers...probably because all Realtors are working with different types of buyers not to mention the level of transactions we all have could add to the differentiation on how a Realtor answers. So, I am formulating your question based on the level of business I do and what I have seen over the course of the past year. First of all I think it is important to specify that Spokane has not been hit by the same credit crunch and problems that alot of areas around the U.S. are facing. It's important to know we have not seen a decline in value since 1956, in fact we are still appreciating at a steady rate with our homes in Spokane. This would be the best description of Spokane...Steady.
With that said, I am seeing a mixed ratio of conventional loans and FHA loans. The majority of my buyers are finding better deals with FHA right now until you get into the jumbo loan aspect and then anything above 417,000.00 tends to require a larger downpayment and makes more sense in other loan formats. I think the crunch has qualified buyers more so than in recent years and people in Spokane are being prudent and putting as much down on their homes as they can. I am still seeing nothing down loans, and some as low as 5% down too. I think it is relative to credit scores with a specific buyer. The better your credit the better your deal will be. It is a good thing if you can put down 20% or more as that takes a big chunk off of your payment when you do not have to pay a lender mortgage insurance. I work with people from all over the world as my niche market in Relocation and am finding that the expectations of buyers from outside areas that are being hit by the credit crunches, are that the expectation to pay less for a home and be able to negotiate a lower price in Spokane should be the norm, however our prices are fair, and our market is steady and there really isn't a desperation to lower prices to the extremes that are happening in other markets. I hope this helped create a picture of how things look from my perspective, in regard to MY buyers and my opinion.
I applaud you for checking it out and asking lots of questions. An educated buyer is a happy buyer. Very Best of Luck.
Although I'm here in Florida, our local Realtor Association keeps comprehensive stats of monthly real estate sales in our area. It Includes area sold, sales price, square footage, beds, baths, type of home, days on market, types of financing...cash, conventional, FHA, VA, owner financing & amount financed, etc. Perhaps the Board of Realtors that services your area has similar information available.