Homeownership still a part of the American Dream, but debt, prices delaying buyers

By Kelly Leighton | Nov. 2, 2016 | 2 min. read

Homeownership is still very much part of the “American Dream,” according to 89 percent of adults in a recent survey, but affording a home is still a burden for some.

According to the fourth annual housing survey from NeighborWorks, more adults are struggling with their student loans, making homeownership more of a dream than a reality.

In 2016, 30 percent of respondents said they know someone whose student loans were delaying them from purchasing a home, up from 28 percent in 2015, and 24 percent in 2014. More than half of respondents this year (53 percent) said their student loans are at least somewhat of an obstacle to purchasing a home, down from 57 percent last year, but an increase from 49 percent in 2014.

Affordability continues to be an issue, as only 45 percent of respondents said their community is affordable for first-time homebuyers, but 56 percent believe that rent prices are too costly for someone to save enough to purchase a home.

Additionally, more than half of respondents said that they believed homebuying is complicated, down 3 percent from 70 percent last year.

However, the positive outlook on homeownership has been growing for minorities, which are the fastest-growing segment of homebuyers, according to the survey. This year, 14 percent of African Americans, along with 12 percent of Hispanics said that homeownership is the most important part of their “American Dream,” compared to only 9 percent of whites. Last year, 16 percent of African Americans, 10 percent of Hispanics and 8 percent of whites reported that homeownership was the most important part of the “American Dream.” However, 52 percent of minorities reported that rent in their area is too high to save for a home, once again, delaying them from purchasing.

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