Almost half of renters surveyed by Bankrate.com say they haven’t purchased a home yet because they believe their credit isn't good enough to qualify for a mortgage or they can’t afford a down payment.
Read more: Why Renters Can't Make the Move
"A lot of people make assumptions that they can't afford to buy based on just some perceptions, and many have not taken the step to figure out how mortgage-ready they are," says Marietta Rodriguez, vice president of NeighborWorks America, a national home ownership programs.
Bankrate.com’s survey found that Hispanics are the ethnic group most likely to say that their credit is blocking them from home ownership. On the other hand, blacks and whites cited the main reason for not buying yet as they just weren’t ready to own a home yet.
Overall, 35 percent of non-home owners say they don’t want to own a house yet, according to the survey. Blame that percentage on the still-lingering after-effects of the housing crisis, says Pava Leyrer, COO for Northern Mortgage Services in Grandville, Mich.
"A lot of people went through some deep pains in the past 10 years or less," such as foreclosures, job losses, or bankruptcy filings, Leyrer says. "All of those things are traumatic in your life."
Fear aside, many non-home owners are under the assumption that they need a higher down payment to purchase a house than is actually needed. About 20 percent of respondents to Bankrate’s survey said they need between 11 percent to 20 percent for a down payment, while 17 percent said they need 6 percent to 10 percent.
Nearly a quarter of non-home owners said, however, they “don’t’ know” how much they need for a down payment. Only 9 percent of respondents said they could do a 1 percent to 5 percent down payment.
Many non-home owners seem to lack awareness that they can get an FHA loan with just a 3.5 percent down payment or a conventional loan with a 3 percent down payment, says Rob Chrane, president and CEO at Down Payment Resource in Atlanta.
"The biggest single issue is that consumers just don't know these programs even exist," Chrane says. "If you don't know of the possibility then you don't know to ask people for help with it."
Source: “Bankrate Survey: Nearly Half of Renters Are Afraid They Can’t Buy,” Bankrate.com (Feb. 9, 2016)