Most Americans Believe Owning a Home Is Essential—Yet Buying Myths Persist

June is National Homeownership Month, and KB Home, a national homebuilder, commissioned a survey conducted by The Harris Poll to better understand homeownership perceptions and homebuying trends. 

The survey found that four in five respondents believe that owning a home is a milestone in life and part of the American Dream, but the survey also revealed that many respondents are discouraged in the home buying process and lack a complete understanding of it.

National Homeownership Month—recgonized by the federal government—is meant to spread awareness of the power of owning a home, from planting roots in your community, building equity, and passing that equity down through generational wealth. 

“For nearly seven decades, KB Home has been focused on helping first-time homebuyers achieve their lifelong dream of buying a home by building affordably priced homes and partnering with buyers every step of the way,” said Rob McGibney, President and COO of KB Home. “In honor of National Homeownership Month, we are building on this legacy by supporting the next generation of buyers with in-person and online resources and education.” 

The survey asked Americans—from Gen Zers to baby boomers—about the importance of homeownership, what factors drive homebuying decisions, and their knowledge of the homebuying process. The findings validated long-standing perceptions and revealed some surprising insights: 

Americans Still Want to Own a Home and Think About Homebuying Often

  • Top of Mind: In addition to four in five Americans (83%) believing that homeownership is an essential life milestone, 40% think about buying a home at least once a week, especially Gen Zers (62%) and Millennials (55%). 
  • Making It Work: About six in 10 people (58%) would spend less on nonessentials to save for a down payment for a home, and more than two in five (45%) would consider taking on a gig job or side hustle. 
  • Reasons to Own: U.S. adults cite privacy (49%), long-term financial benefits (44%) and a place to make memories (33%) as the most important reasons to own a home. 
  • Good Vibes: More than half of Americans (51%) associate homebuying with being excited. Many also associate homebuying with feeling proud (43%), motivated (32%) and confident (30%). 

Buying a Home Is Exciting, But People Are Nervous

  • Lacking Confidence: Over half of Americans (56%) feel that they are in a worse position to buy a home than prior generations. 
  • The Great Unknown: one in four associate homebuying with being stressed or nervous. 
  • Nerve Drivers: When it comes to what aspect of homebuying makes people nervous, 85% are at least somewhat nervous about purchasing a “money pit,” and around 3 in 4 are at least somewhat nervous about being able to afford a home, finding the right home or finding the right partner to help them buy one. 

Long-standing Myths and Knowledge Gaps About Homebuying Persist

  • The Basics: A majority of Americans have a poor understanding of many aspects of homebuying. Only around half correctly identified the meaning of terms such as “APR” (56%) or “PMI” (54%); of this group, Gen Zers and Millennials are less likely to be familiar. 
  • Financial Knowledge: Only about one in three people know key facts about financing a home, including that a minimum down payment of 20% is not required (36%) or that one can qualify for a mortgage with a credit score in the 500s (28%). 
  • Myth Buster: More than half (54%) believe—incorrectly—that mortgage rates are at an all-time high, and one in six aren’t sure at all whether they are at the highest. In fact, the highest rates on record were in 1981, when the 30-year fixed rate peaked at 18.6%, much higher than today.

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Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for MortgagePoint. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography including best newspaper design by the Associated Press Managing Editors Group and the international iPhone photographer of the year by the iPhone Photography Awards. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at
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