According to a Wells Fargo survey, Americans are willing to do what it takes to make their homeownership goals a reality – such as taking on a side job, cutting expenses or considering a less-expensive location.

The Wells Fargo 2019 “How America Views Homeownership” survey was conducted by The Harris Poll April 17–29, 2019, among 1,004 U.S. adults 21 and older. Key findings include:

  • Nearly half of Americans who are saving to buy or renovate a home (49%) have done work outside their primary job to supplement their income to pay for it, such as selling items online (37%), starting a small side business (21%), driving for a rideshare company (18%) and dog sitting/walking (16%).
  • Nearly eight in 10 non-homeowners (78%) say they would be willing to accept their second choice of a city or town in order to afford their own home.
  • Nearly three quarters of non-homeowners (74%) say they would be willing to buy a smaller home with fewer amenities.
  • Over seven in 10 Americans (72%) say they would give up something to save for a down payment, including dining out (44%), going to events (43%) and vacations (38%).
  • Millennials who don’t own homes are even more willing to make trade-offs, such as considering a second choice of city (85%), and millennials as a whole say they are more willing to take steps – such as side jobs (70%) or cutting expenses (83%) – in order to save.
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Homeownership is still the goal

Even in the wake of the Great Recession and current affordability concerns, Americans see homeownership as a clear metaphor for adulthood and achieving the American Dream. For most Americans (70%), owning a home is seen as a sign that someone is a “successful adult,” on par with having a career (73%). In fact, homeownership is much more widely equated with being a successful adult (more than twice as much) than having children (34%) or getting married (32%).

Nearly nine in 10 adults (89%) say the benefits of homeownership outweigh any drawbacks. Although most current homeowners (69%) had to make hard sacrifices to afford their home, nearly all say buying their home was worth all the sacrifice to save for it (90%). If they had to do it over again, they say they still would choose to buy their home rather than rent (93%). In fact, nearly all homeowners (95%) say that, in the long run, owning a home provides more “bang for your buck” than renting.

Millennials share this commitment: 95% of millennial homeowners say it was worth the sacrifice, and 86% of millennials as a whole say the benefits of homeownership outweigh the drawbacks.

Downpayment is the big thing

The No. 1 hurdle to buying for Americans is saving for the downpayment. More than one in four (27%) say it’s the biggest barrier, and it’s even more pronounced for millennials at 38%.

Americans also have misperceptions about what it takes to increase their opportunity to get financing for a home, citing “perfect” credit (71%), being debt-free (65%), “having a lot of money in the bank” (59%) and having no student debt (38%). In fact, 31% of homeowners say they never thought they would be able to purchase their own home, and that number was even higher (54%) for millennial homeowners.

© 2019 Florida Realtors®