Bank of America's CEO says a pre-crisis idea could make it easier for millennials to buy homes

Mortgage lending standards have tightened since the housing bubble brought down the financial system a decade ago.

While homeownership has fallen, home prices have jumped back to pre-crisis levels, suggesting the cost and requirements for getting a mortgage are holding back many would-be buyers.

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Brian Moynihan, Bank of America's CEO, told CNBC on Thursday that eased regulations including a lower down payment could make it easier for millennials, in their household-formation years, to buy homes.

"Our goal, going back to regulatory reform, is should you move the down-payment requirement from 20% to 10?" Moynihan told CNBC's Kelly Evans. "It wouldn't introduce that much risk but would actually help a lot of mortgages get done."

Evans asked Moynihan last week about mortgages in the context of the widely shared comments from the Australian tycoon Tim Gurner suggesting millennials should stop spending on avocado toast if they want to afford homes.

Moynihan, who said he shared the article with his son, added:

"I think at the end of the day, people forget that at different points in your life and different points on what you're doing in life requires you to think about housing differently as a place for you and your friends, as a place for you and maybe your significant other, and then, ultimately, a place for family. That drives change. And so yes, it's taken more time. And we talked a lot about this, you know, four or five years ago, that if you require a 20% down payment, it takes just a little more time to accumulate 20% than it would 3% or none, which is what the rules were for a short period of time."

Leading up to the recession, some lenders lowered the 20% down-payment standard or required no down payment at all.

Lenders' scars from the housing crisis have made them cautious of whom they approve. In the first quarter, the median credit score of a new mortgage was 764, the highest in nearly two years and up from the prerecession average of 720, according to Gluskin Sheff.

According to Moynihan, there's still wiggle room to ease regulations.

RELATED: The best cities for first-time buyers

18 PHOTOS
The best cities for first-time buyers
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The best cities for first-time buyers

17. Riverside, CA

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 2 years, 5 months

Inventory: 14,462

Households: 1,343,526

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 3.8%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 13.4%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

16. Philadelphia, PA

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 2 years, 7 months

Inventory: 26,597

Households: 2,233,752

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 2.3%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 17.3%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty

15. Houston, TX

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 2 years, 4 months

Inventory: 24,960

Households: 2,292,992

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 1.5%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 17.9%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

14. St. Louis, MO

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 2 years, 4 months

Inventory: 12,373

Households: 1,108,303

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 1.5%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 15.0%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

13. Kansas City, MO

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 8 months

Inventory: 6,616

Households: 814,092

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 2.9%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 11.6%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

12. Chicago, IL

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 2 years, 3 months

Inventory: 37,367

Households: 3,470,993

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 2.6%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 16.7%

Source: Zillow 

Photo credit: Getty

11. Cincinnati, OH

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 9 months

Inventory: 6,160

Households: 832,607

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 2.7%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 14.2%

Source: Zillow 

Photo credit: Getty 

10. Cleveland, OH

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 11 months

Inventory: 10,045

Households: 849,475

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 1.8%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 14.1%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty

9. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 8 months

Inventory: 16,331

Households: 2,479,995

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 4.4%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 13.7%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

8. Detroit, MI

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 7 months

Inventory: 13,919

Households: 1,674,251

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 3.2%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 12.7%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

7. Atlanta, GA

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 9 months

Inventory: 28,888

Households: 2,028,705

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 3.1%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 12.4%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

6. Pittsburgh, PA

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 11 months

Inventory: 10,830

Households: 990,355

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 2.5%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 14.9%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

5. San Antonio, TX

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 11 months

Inventory: 7,444

Households: 791,273

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 3.0%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 17.2%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

4. Las Vegas, NV

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 2 years, 1 month

Inventory: 13,012

Households: 740,966

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 4.8%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 12.0%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

3. Indianapolis, IN

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 6 months

Inventory: 7,706

Households: 755,100

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 3.0%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 13.1%

Source: Zillow 

Photo credit: Getty

2. Tampa, FL

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 10 months

Inventory: 14,998

Households: 1,166,704

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 3.2%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 18.8%

Source: Zillow

Photo credit: Getty 

1. Orlando, FL

Breakeven Horizon 1Q 2017: 1 year, 11 months

Inventory: 10,344

Households: 845,295

Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation: 3.8%

Share of Listings with a Price Cut: 17.4%

Source: Zillow 

Photo credit: Getty 

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