During Homeownership Month, NAR is sharing how REALTORS® help the millions of Americans who aspire to join the nation’s 85 million property owners.
Homeownership builds financial security and can drastically help people improve their net worth. The net worth of a typical homeowner is nearly 40 times the net worth of a non-owner. Home equity and retirement accounts represent over 60% of households’ net worth.
In the last decade, middle-income homeowners have accumulated $122,000 in wealth due to price appreciation alone.
However, a historic 50-year record shortage of affordable homes available for purchase has severely limited access to the residential real estate market.
A landmark report commissioned by NAR in 2021 found the U.S. has developed an “underbuilding gap” of 5.5 million housing units over the last 20 years. This translates into a $4.4 trillion underinvestment in housing.
The housing shortage is constraining homeownership opportunities for too many Americans.
There are currently 383 homes listed for sale, a marked decline from 1,140 homes in 2019. For middle-income families, there are only 181 homes that they can afford to buy. (Stats are from the Northern Michigan MLS as of 6/6/2023).
For middle-income households, there is only one affordable listing for every 125 households (Nationally), a stark decrease from one listing for every 46 households in 2019.
Over the last two years, the percentage of single-family homes sold below $250,000 has plummeted from 47% of sales to 28%.
What NAR is doing to increase homeownership opportunities
NAR is working closely with the Biden administration, Congress, and our industry partners to address housing supply and affordability constraints and increase homeownership opportunities in America.
NAR’s work on comprehensive policy proposals over the past two years has built consensus that decisive action is needed – and they’re getting results.
In early 2022, following a landmark NAR report sounding the alarm on the supply crisis, the White House submitted a historic funding request for affordable housing. Throughout the year, NAR met multiple times with White House officials and testified before Congress on housing supply and affordability constraints.
NAR’s commitment to expanding homeownership opportunities continues in 2023:
- Vice President Kamala Harris and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge announced in February a reduction in mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) by 30 basis points. This followed NAR’s robust advocacy on responsibly reducing MIPs to help qualified home buyers struggling with affordability in the current environment.
- NAR held a Policy Forum on March 16 focused on the current housing market and impacts on aspiring home buyers. The event featured a keynote fireside chat with Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Sandra Thompson on the affordability crisis and solutions to help put the dream of homeownership within reach for more people.
- NAR President Kenny Parcell testified before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance on May 17 about the FHFA’s new loan level pricing adjustments (LLPA) fee increase on borrowers with fair to good credit profiles. He stressed that the fees are unnecessary and confusing, especially when potential home buyers already face a lack of affordability and supply.
- Following significant urging from NAR, the FHFA rescinded its proposed loan level pricing adjustment (LLPA) upfront fee on borrowers with debt-to-income ratios greater than 40 percent that was slated to go into effect August 1.
In early May, thousands of REALTORS® descended on Washington, D.C., and shared with policymakers a comprehensive list of legislative priorities to improve access to homeownership, including:
- Incentivizing more owners to sell their homes by increasing the maximum amount of capital gains a homeowner can exclude on the sale of a principal residence and annually adjusting it for inflation.
- Attracting private investment for building and rehabilitating owner-occupied homes by offering tax credits that create a pathway to neighborhood stability through sustainable homeownership.
- Incentivizing the conversion of unused commercial buildings to residential and mixed-use properties.
- Creating incentives for housing provider participation in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
- Reauthorizing and increasing funding for HUD fair housing enforcement programs.
With our industry partners, NAR is pursuing bold goals to substantially narrow racial and ethnic homeownership gaps:
- NAR is a founding member of the Black Homeownership Collaborative and supports the 3by30 initiative(link is external), with the goal of adding three million net new Black homeowners by 2030. The initiative’s seven-point plan includes policy solutions such as down payment assistance, alternative credit, and special purpose credit programs.
- NAR advocates with our partners for inclusive communities and greater affordable housing options – such as when NAR recently joined a coalition of housing groups in support of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule.
The NAR Research team is a resource for REALTORS®, policymakers, and the public. Our skilled economists produce and analyze a wide range of data, providing the best resources and information on real estate.
- Wealth Gains by Income and Racial/Ethnic Group (April 2023): This report looks at how homeownership can be a catalyst for building wealth for households in low-/middle-income and minority groups.
- A Snapshot of Race and Home Buying in America (March 2023): A report looking at homeownership trends, mortgage market, and affordability by race and home buyer demographics using data from the NAR 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
- 2022 Obstacles to Home Buying: This report, conducted in partnership with Morning Consult, explores current obstacles to home buying broken down by race/ethnicity – with the lack of affordable homes ranking as the top obstacle holding back potential home buyers of all races.
- The Double Trouble of the Housing Market (February 2022): A report on the “two troubles” simultaneously impacting the housing market: record home prices and record low inventory, using data analyzing affordability at different income levels for all active inventory on the market and done in partnership with Realtor.com®.
- Congressional District and State Reports: These reports provide data on housing and real estate in states and congressional districts.
- State Economic Impact Reports: These reports demonstrate the benefits of homeownership and income generated by home sales in local economies.
- Analysis and Case Studies in Office-to-Housing Conversions: An analysis of how vacant office buildings are being converted into housing in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the commercial real estate market and the nationwide housing shortage.
These and many more reports, surveys, and data collections are available in the Research and Statistics section of nar.realtor.
Drive With NAR Podcast
Your voice as a REALTOR® is one of the most important tools you have to create change for homebuyers. May’s episode: Your Role in Solving the Inventory Crisis: Use Your Voice, discusses inventory issues and steps that agents can take to help fix the problem.
First-time Home Buyer
Purchasing your first home in this market isn’t easy, but these determined buyers are up for the challenge. See firsthand what first-time home buyers face, and how relying on a REALTOR®’s expertise can help them prepare for the unexpected and provide creative pathways to homeownership.
3 Seasons | 24 Episodes(link is external)
That’s Who We R
Homeownership Month Digital Toolkit
Download these graphics and use them on your social channels to show your support for Homeownership Month. Personalize and share a full suite of Photofy(link is external) Homeownership Month assets on your social media accounts.
Each month, REALTOR® Party Success Stories(link is external) highlight state and local associations that achieved an advocacy win with the help of a REALTOR® Party grant or program. Check back throughout June for inspiration from associations that have used these resources to expand access to homeownership in their communities.