Non-Owners Dream of Ownership, But…

January 15, 2019

About 75 percent of non-homeowners believe homeownership is still part of their American dream, according to a new analysis released by the National Association of REALTORS®. However, the biggest barrier for non-owners is that they are currently unable to afford a mortgage, according to the fourth-quarter 2018 Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey, based on more than 8,000 consumer responses.

During the last quarter of 2018, 43 percent of non-owners said they did not own a home because they were not in a position to purchase one, which is down from 49 percent who said the same in the third quarter. Thirty-three percent said they do not own because current life circumstances are not suitable for ownership, and 16 percent said they currently need the flexibility of renting.

So what could encourage them to buy? Thirty-one percent of non-owners said an improvement in their financial situation would be the biggest motivator to encourage them to buy a home. Thirty-percent also said a change in their lifestyle, such as getting married, starting a family, or retiring, would also be a big motivator to buy.

“The lack of affordable and moderately priced homes has forced non-homeowners to delay achieving that part of the American dream,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “However, as the survey confirms, significant lifestyle changes like marriage or starting a family often spur non-owners to pursue homeownership.”