Why We’re Here
Homeownership can transform lives. It creates long-lasting and life-changing impact on families and communities, from providing a source of wealth and asset-building to influencing health and educational outcomes and contributing to positive community development. An important step in bringing homeownership to more families is to understand who currently has access to homeownership and what factors play a role.
Top Barriers to Homeownership
The 2019 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey shows that half of U.S. adults face barriers to homeownership. Consumers report several key barriers contribute to constraining access to homeownership, especially affordable homeownership:
Rising Home Prices
Prices for more affordable homes (those affordable at 75% of the metro area median income and below) increased at nearly twice the rate of expensive homes.
Lack of funding for down payment or closing costs
Down payment and closing costs can be 3% to 25% of the price of a home, putting homeownership out of reach of some households.6 A 2018 Urban Institute study found that 68% of renters identify saving for a down payment as the greatest barrier to homeownership.
Limited options within budget
The demand for housing outstrips the current supply, especially at lower price tiers. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated a need for 2.5 million additional housing units to meet long-term housing demand.
The rising costs of land, labor and materials limit homebuilding and target most new construction at higher price points. Construction costs, fueled largely by labor shortages and material costs, have risen by more than 20% since 2004.4 In more than 80% of counties in the U.S., land values for residential construction have soared.
Existing debt and poor credit history
The tightening of lending standards after the Great Recession was a key factor in declining homeownership rates, preventing potential homebuyers from obtaining mortgages. For low to moderate-income homebuyers, the share of mortgage loan originations decreased by 25% in the years after the Great Recession.
Did you know …?
The monthly mortgage payment on a typical existing single-family home with a 20% down payment has skyrocketed by nearly 50% over
the past year.
The cost of living for a two-parent, two-child family in Lake County is over $8,300/month.
Homeownership has benefits that last for generations
- Homeownership builds generational wealth
U.S. homeowners have an average net wealth that is 400% higher than that of renters and home equity represents the largest proportion of wealth (34.5%) for U.S. households.Research has shown a correlation between homeownership and increased wealth, with each year of homeownership tending to be associated with an additional $9,500 in net wealth, on average.
- Homeownership improves educational outcomes
Children who grow up in homes owned by their families are 116% more likely to graduate high school and move on to college or vocational school.Children of low-income homeowners are 11% more likely to graduate from high school and are 4.5% more likely to complete post-secondary education than children of low-income renters.Homeownership contributes to higher standardized test scores in math, and for those with a longer homeownership tenure, increased test scores in reading.
- Homeownership builds engaged communities
Regardless of the length of time they have owned a home, homeowners are 1.3x more likely to become involved in a neighborhood group and to join a civic association than renters.
Investment in neighborhoods lifts up the entire community.Homeowners are more likely to vote in local elections than renters in comparable neighborhoods, and this likelihood increases with the degree of neighborhood disadvantage in low-income areas.Low- and moderate-income homeowners have more social capital resources, such as a larger social network within their community, than do renters at similar income levels.