The current state of housing affordability has reached a level where two out of five Americans believe that winning the lottery is their only viable path to homeownership, reports a recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Divvy Homes of 2,000 current non-homeowners.
In addition, one in four (26%) believe they'd need to inherit money from someone, while one in five (19%) even said they'd have to marry someone rich. Of the respondents, only 53% are confident in any way that they'll be able to own their own home someday.
“A majority of aspiring home buyers feel that homeownership is always just beyond their reach,” says Adena Hefets, co-founder and CEO of Divvy Homes. “That the 'American dream' of homeownership is slipping away, and that it would take luck, extraordinary circumstances, or a serious change in the mortgage process to make it possible for them to own a home in today's economic climate.”
The changes in market dynamics and rise in interest rates are weighing heavily on would-be buyers. While over half (52%) of the polled people believe the current housing market is unstable, 46% believe that things will level out within the next two to five years, and 17% feel the market will never return to stable, affordable levels.
Respondents think they'd need to make an average of $76,000 a year to afford a starter home, and that they'd need at least $45,000 in savings to afford the down payment on a starter home. Nearly half of respondents (44%) are willing to get a second job or side gig in order to get closer to their goal of homeownership.
Affordability is a big issue, with 63% of respondents saying they often struggle to make ends meet. Additionally, 56% think they'd be denied if they tried to apply for a mortgage right now.
"Potential buyers are looking for alternatives to traditional mortgage financing or are stuck waiting for a reprieve from the rising rates and prices that keeps so many of them renting and locked out of homeownership," adds Hefets. "There are so many factors putting downward pressure on a potential homeowner's buying power—high interest rates, a lack of supply, increasing cost of living—that the starter home seems to be on the verge of extinction."
Overall, the survey respondents think it would take them between three and four years to afford a home and a third believe it would take them five years or more. Another 20% expect that they'll never be able to afford to buy a home.
The survey also revealed that 57% of non-homeowners would find it difficult to afford a house in their current neighborhood. Despite that, 67% are still hopeful about the possibility of one day owning a home.
Those that dream of being able to buy a home in the next few years prioritize affordable monthly payments (69%), the home being the right size for now and the future (39%), and the location being ideal for their family's needs (37%).
Out of those respondents who currently rent, 47% worry about home prices getting more expensive before they can afford to buy. "Throwing money away on rent" was also considered one of the biggest drawbacks to not owning a home among 46% of respondents, in addition to feeling uneasy about the stability of their long-term living situation (41%) and watching interest rates rise before they can afford to buy (34%).