2023 was especially scarring for aspiring first-time homebuyers. Decades-high mortgage rates, rising home prices, and low inventory levels locked out many of them from achieving the American Dream. In fact, many aspiring homeowners have completely given up on the idea of ever owning a home, a new study shows.
A study from the online arm of long-running home improvement TV show This Old House, published Monday, shows that half of the aspiring homeowners who have let go of their homeownership dream say it’s because they’ll never be able to afford it. The research team for the TV show, which debuted in 1979 and largely launched the home improvement genre, surveyed 3,000 aspiring homeowners about whether they believe homeownership is within reach and what their biggest barriers are. Of aspiring homeowners surveyed, 85% still want to pursue buying a house this year.
But it’s no wonder that 15% of people who previously wanted to buy a house have completely given up. Goldman Sachs in October 2023 reported that housing affordability is even worse now than it was during the disastrous crash of 2008, and Redfin reported that Americans need to make nearly $115,000 to buy a house, which is $40,000 more than the median household income in the U.S.
Indeed, This Old House found that one in five aspiring homeowners failed to purchase in 2023, with affordability being the chief complaint.
“Among these aspiring buyers, a significant portion cited difficulties in affording down payments and concerns about mortgage rates as barriers to purchasing a home,” Taelor Candiloro, a researcher on This Old House’s reviews team, tells Fortune. “High mortgage rates can certainly influence a buyer’s perception, but there is evident desperation in our survey as 30% would settle for a mortgage rate higher than 6% if