Survey: Millennial homeowners most burdened by debt, homeownership costs

by Lindsey Wells

Millennials are at the greatest risk of becoming house-rich and cash-poor as the generation is spending the highest percentage of their monthly income on homeownership costs compared to other generations, according to a new Hometap report.

With real estate values remaining high nationwide, millennials are also the least likely to know how much equity they have in their homes or how to calculate it.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. homeowners found that 47% of respondents’ finances have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, while 77% carry at least some form of debt or financial liability.

“As we begin to emerge from the pandemic and residential real estate values remain near record levels, homeowners — especially millennials — have a great deal of equity tied up in their properties but are wary of taking on debt to access it,” said Jonathan MacKinnon, vice president of product strategy & business development at Hometap. “With the total cost of homeownership rising, and mortgage payments taking up an increasingly larger percentage of income, there is a growing need for solutions that allow Americans to tap their most important asset without going further into debt.”

Other key findings from the report include:

• 63% of Black homeowners say they have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, compared to 54% of Latino homeowners and 43% of White homeowners.

• 52% of U.S. homeowners spend at least 16% of their monthly income on mortgages.

• 53% of millennials do not know how much equity they have in their homes and 55% don’t know how to calculate it.

• 59% of millennials do not view their home as an asset they can use to obtain needed cash.

“Americans are more invested than ever in their homes but still tend to view homeownership as a source of debt rather than equity,” said MacKinnon. “These findings point to a broad lack of awareness of how to use home equity to unlock new opportunities without the burden of debt when their finances are already stretched.”

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