Mortgage insurers’ 2021 survey finds 69% say affordable housing is a top concern, and 57% said the low housing supply. This year’s survey also looked specifically at race and found that Black (74%) and Hispanic (65%) respondents included an inability to save for a down payment.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Mortgage Insurers’ (USMI) 2021 National Homeownership Market Survey finds nearly 7 in 10 (69%) respondents ranked lack of affordable housing as one of the biggest current U.S. home buying challenges, along with 57% who said the low housing supply. Housing insecurity (66%) was also a top concern.
In addition to overall homeownership problems, USMI says this year’s survey also broke down its findings by race.
“This survey underscores the need to address the nation’s undersupply of housing, and specifically affordable housing, because too many people are being left out of the market or face significant barriers to get into the housing market,” says Lindsey Johnson, president of USMI.
“Our survey shows that low- to moderate-income households and underserved communities struggle to become homeowners due to several major factors including low housing supply, lack of affordable housing, and personal economic factors such as imperfect credit score or the inability to afford a 20% down payment.”
When broken down by race, the economic factors are more pronounced: 74% of Black and 65% of Hispanic respondents also cited the inability to save for a down payment (39% of all minorities) and imperfect credit history (37% of all minorities) as the biggest challenges they face when it comes to buying a home.
Housing insecurity was also a significant concern. The number one concern among African American and Hispanic respondents was falling behind on rent or mortgage payments. In fact, twice the number of African American respondents (20%) and more than one and half times the number of Hispanic respondents (16%) reported this concern compared to white respondents (10%).
“The survey also shows that more education is needed around the mortgage finance process, particularly to ensure more buyers understand that low down payment mortgage options are widely available,” says Johnson.
USMI’s survey found that up to 45% of respondents mistakenly believe that you need a down payment of 20% or more to qualify for a home purchase. Another 30% admitted that they don’t know much at all about down payment requirements, which could be as low as 3% for some loans.
The survey also asked respondents about the role of mortgage insurance. According to respondents, the top reasons for mortgage insurance are it “levels the playing field” and “increases lower-income families’ access to homeownership.” A majority of respondents also said it was important to have access to low down payment loans through both the conventional and government-backed markets, such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
USMI says it supports sensible regulatory and legislative reforms to remove barriers to homeownership. The group is also part of the Black Homeownership Collaborative, a recently announced collaboration with more than 100 organizations and individuals.
ClearPath Strategies fielded USMI’s 2021 National Homeownership Market Survey of 1,000 adults in the U.S. It was commissioned online April 13-21. Quotas were set to ensure a cross sample of age, gender, race, region, and education as well as homeowners, first-time homebuyers, and prospective homebuyers. The purpose was to understand the perceptions around homeownership, the mortgage process, and the challenges people face when trying to purchase a home.
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