NeighborWorks annual survey identifies increased financial challenges, widening homeownership gap

National -

More people are delaying buying a home and only 40% of Blacks own homes

Washington, D.C. – RealEstateRama – The results of the newly released annual Housing and Financial Capability Survey from NeighborWorks America reveal that a significant and growing share of the American public is vulnerable or underequipped to handle financial challenges, a reality that prevents many from making progress toward longer-term financial and housing stability. According to the survey, economic hardships are changing the way we live — with an uptick in shared housing and delayed homebuying. Among minorities, there is a growing disparity with only 40% of Blacks owning homes, representing a drop of 8% from last year.

NeighborWorks knows from decades of experience in helping communities thrive that homeownership is vital to building and sustaining communities and neighborhoods. The infrastructure of a community destabilizes without “neighbor helping neighbor” support systems that result from sustainable homeownership. Social, mental and fiscal security are critically important factors to all Americans. For low- to moderate-income families, the lack thereof can have debilitating consequences that are almost impossible to recover from.

“Our focus on housing and affordability serves to help set the foundation for the stabilization of communities. People can connect with our network organizations and gain access to invaluable tools and resources to help them get on the right track,” said NeighborWorks America’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Susan M. Ifill. “With the help of our network, nobody has to go it alone. Our Housing and Financial Capability Survey helps us understand who still needs our help and in what areas we need to be working.”

An interesting survey outcome shows that as a result of financial challenges and concerns, close to one in 10 Americans is sharing a living space — having moved in with someone else or having found someone to live with them, and three in 10 have delayed progress toward finding a home of their own. In racial and ethnic minority communities, the impact is even more stark. In particular, 44% of Black individuals have delayed steps toward owning a home, delayed looking for information on housing options or delayed moving into a place of their own. (Compare to 29% of overall population.)

Not surprisingly, given the impact of COVID and overall economic instability in most communities, the survey also found that most Americans are focused primarily on immediate financial concerns like everyday expenses and paying down debt, at the expense of saving for the future. A significant share has little to no emergency savings, and many lack basic financial resources such as savings accounts or credit cards. This is especially true for Black, young, and lower-income individuals. Reasons range from lack of trust or information to tangible obstacles like rejections or lack of nearby banks. Households earning under $30,000 are also far less likely to have important financial tools like credit cards (39% vs. 68% overall), savings accounts (41% vs. 61%) or checking accounts (66% vs. 80%).

“NeighborWorks America, through our network of nonprofit organizations and partnerships, provides the resources that make a difference. We have housing counselors, information about down payment assistance, and courses on financial planning and debt reduction. It all works together to help close the economic stability and attainment gaps that hinder progress for far too many. We have a lot of work left to do,” said Ifill.

Visit our survey findings page for more information and how NeighborWorks America continues to help build communities. To schedule an interview with Susan M. Ifill or other NeighborWorks experts, ">contact Kelly Alexander.

About NeighborWorks America 
For more than 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., a national, nonpartisan nonprofit known as NeighborWorks America, has strived to make every community a place of opportunity. Our network of excellence includes more than 240 members in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. NeighborWorks America offers grant funding, peer-exchange, technical assistance, evaluation tools and access to training, as the nation’s leading trainer of housing and community development professionals. NeighborWorks network organizations provide residents in their communities with affordable homes, owned and rented; financial counseling and coaching; community building through resident engagement; and collaboration in the areas of health, employment and education. In the last five years, our organizations have generated more than $40.2 billion in investment across the country.

Kelly Alexander


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