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That Complex Process Called Homebuying

Home valuesA significant number of consumers are interested in buying a home. But they find homeownership beyond reach, according to a NeighborWorks America survey.

The organization's National Homeownership Survey revealed that 70% of U.S. adults felt that "buying a home is complicated." However, 76% of those surveyed agreed that owning a home "increases a person's financial stability." In fact, half of these respondents said that they would feel "less financially successful" if they never owned a home.

The survey also indicated that the road to ownership was particularly fraught with hardships for minority communities. Additionally, close to one-third of the population (30%) "is not confident in their ability to withstand a financial emergency, particularly minorities (34%).

The belief that they lacked the financial planning skills and knowledge was a key factor that's keeping these communities (especially African Americans and Hispanics) away from homeownership. "As a result, the gap between homeownership and renting still exceeds the overall national average," the survey said.

It indicated that two-thirds of the general population across the U.S. owns a home, compared to one-in-four who rent; among black and Hispanic adults, the gap between owning and renting is much closer with 49% owning a home and 40% renting one.

This demographic, the survey found, was also more open to learning about financial planning skills to achieve their American Dream. Sixty percent Black and Hispanic adults expressed more interest in financial planning classes than the general population (40%). This population is also more likely (29%) than the general population (20%) to be aware of education programs in their communities that provide information to potential buyers about the homebuying process.

But other financial obligations keep coming in the way of homeownership. While 30% of those surveyed said they are not confident in their ability to withstand a financial emergency, 34% of black and Hispanic adults expressed this lack of confidence, the survey found.

Twenty-one percent of black adults said their most important financial goal for 2019 was to pay bills and everyday expenses, with 6% saving for a home as their No. 1 financial goal. Among Hispanics, 20% said paying down credit card debt was their top financial goal for 2019 with merely 8% of this demographic ranking saving for a down payment to buy a home as most important.

Click here to read the full survey.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and editor. A former Online Editor and currently a reporter for MReport, she is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.
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