Nearly Half of Renters Worry They Won’t Be Able to Buy a Home

Shot of a young couple looking anxious while doing their budget at home.
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The American dream of owning a home appears to be more like a fantasy for many renters, with nearly half worrying that they’ll never be able to buy a home, according to a recent survey from LendingTree.

See: Why Renting Is Not a Bad Financial Option in 2021
Find: How Much Should You Save for a Down Payment on a House?

The survey of 2,050 consumers, conducted by Qualtrics and released last week, found that 48% of renters question whether they’ll ever be able to buy their own place. More than half of Gen Xers (55%) who don’t currently own a home fret that they won’t be able to buy one — the highest percentage of any age group. That’s a pretty grim statistic, considering that some Gen Xers have already reached their mid-50s.

Similarly, more than half (52%) of millennials ages 25 to 40 also fear they won’t be able to buy a home.

The biggest barrier to buying a home is the down payment required, with 54% of renters saying they can’t afford to put enough money down for a mortgage. Other common barriers include high home prices (36%) and difficulty qualifying for a mortgage due to a low credit score (32%).

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See: How to Buy a House With No Money Down
Find: How to Rebuild Credit — 8 Steps You Can Take

The LendingTree survey results are largely in line with a similar survey GOBankingRates conducted earlier this summer. In that survey of 500 renters and 500 homeowners over age 18, 27% of respondents said the biggest impediment to buying a house was not being able to afford a down payment. Although that figure is half of the LendingTree percentage, it also should be noted that half of the GOBankingRates respondents already own a home.

The GBR survey also found that more than one-third of renters (35%)  have $0 saved for a down payment. Poor credit, low wages and unaffordable home prices were three other popular reasons given for not being able to buy a house.

One thing both surveys agree on is that the vast majority of Americans still want to own a home. GOBankingRates found that nearly 80% of the women and more than 75% of the men want to be homeowners in the future. LendingTree found that 88% of respondents would rather own their home than rent.

See: Rent-To-Own — What Is It and How Does It Work?
Find: Ranked — The Best States for Millennials to Buy a Home

For those worried about getting on the right track to home ownership, LendingTree offers these tips:

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  • Limit your cost-of-living expenses by eating out less often, taking fewer vacations and buying less expensive cars.
  • Explore low-down-payment options such as Federal Housing Administration loans for first-time buyers.
  • Search for homes you can afford rather than fall in love with homes that would stretch your monthly budget. Better yet, shop for homes below your budget.

    More From GOBankingRates

    About the Author

    Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte MagazineStreet & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, will be published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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