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National Housing & Financial Capability Survey


On June 3, 2019, NeighborWorks America released highlights from its new housing and financial capability survey. The survey showed that, while many people are interested in homeownership, a significant portion of the population finds homeownership beyond reach, primarily because they don't understand the process.

Minority families struggle to transition from renting to home ownership because they lack the financial planning skills and knowledge. Furthermore, close to one-third of the population (30 percent) is not confident in their ability to withstand a financial emergency, particularly minorities (34 percent.) 

Survey details

Text graphic with green background and white NeighborWorks America logo. Text reads: 70%25 of U.S. adults feel that buying a home is complicated.The survey found that 76 percent of U.S. adults agree that owning a home increases a person's financial stability and half say they would feel less financially successful if they never owned a home. Yet 70 percent say the homebuying process is complicated. 

Minority families, particularly black and Hispanic, find that they are missing the financial planning skills and knowledge to become homeowners. As a result, the gap between homeownership and renting still exceeds the overall national average. Nationwide two-thirds of the general population owns their home, compared to one-in-four who rent their home; among black and Hispanic adults, the gap between owning and renting is much closer; 49 percent own their own home and 40 percent rent. 

But the survey shows that minority families aspire to reach the American dream of homeownership and are open and willing to learn more to close the opportunity gap.

Black and Hispanic adults express more interest in financial planning classes (60 percent) to help them improve their financial situation than the general population (40 percent). They are also more likely (29 percent) than the general population (20 percent) to be aware of education programs in their communities that provide information to potential homebuyers about the process. 

NeighborWorks America knows that ensuring every person who wants to buy a home has the same access to information, gains the skills and qualifies for the resources that help them to reset their trajectory and improve their own financial future and set their families up for generational success is critical. 

Regarding finances, black and Hispanic adults report more vulnerability and less cash on hand than white adults. While 30 percent of those surveyed said they are not confident in their ability to withstand a financial emergency, 34 percent of black and Hispanic adults expressed this lack of confidence. 21 percent of black adults said their most important financial goal for 2019 is to pay bills and everyday expenses, with 6 percent saving for a home as their No. 1 financial goal. Among Hispanics, 20 percent said paying down credit card debt is their top financial goal for 2019. Eight percent ranked saving for a down payment to buy a home as most important. 51 percent of U.S. adults say either they have or know someone who has been the victim of a financial scam. 

There is a clear opportunity to help people bridge the wealth gap by helping them making good financial and life decisions. Working with a housing or financial coach is a good first step to wealth attainment and creating a path towards financial success. 

Press releases

Additional survey findings