Consumer Survey Results – Potential First-Time Homebuyers’ Opinions and Attitudes

Bill Gray August 12, 2019

A sneak peak at top-line results from a third-party-administered survey of potential first-time homebuyers in Minnesota.

Last week, we shared initial results of a third-party analysis of the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of the Center’s homebuyer education and advising services. As promised, we’re looking this week at a second exercise – top-line results from a third-party consumer opinion survey commissioned by the Center to identify opinions around homeownership among Minnesota non-homeowners.

The survey exercise was designed to determine baseline opinions and attitudes around homeownership among potential first-time homebuyers in Minnesota. The Center enlisted Portland, Maine-based Critical Insights to conduct this data science-based analysis, with potential first-time homebuyers defined chiefly as non-homeowners between ages 25-54 making $35,000/year or more. The survey was conducted among an existing cohort of internet-based participants. Eligible participants were modestly compensated for their participation. A statistically valid sample-size of more than 800 participants reflecting statewide census data such as rural vs urban and households of color vs white households was successfully achieved.

Here are the survey’s major findings:

  • Nearly four out of five have a goal of someday owning a home. This indicates consumer demand for the work we do as these individuals may need assistance in identifying resources and navigating the complicated homebuying process in order to be successful.
  • Student loan debt is a significant factor in respondents’ status as non-homeowners, with about half carrying such debt. Further, among those with student loan debt, about half owe at least $25,000.
  • More than half of respondents are currently paying more than $1,000/month for their housing, indicating a potential ability to sustainably pay a mortgage on a modestly-priced starter home if such a home were available.
  • More than half of respondents do not believe they could afford the down payment required for purchase of a home. Further, more than one-third of respondents incorrectly believe that a down payment of 20 percent is required.
  • Nearly one-third of respondents indicated previous experience with homeownership, indicating the potential lingering of negative effects from the Great Recession’s housing market crash.
  • Among survey participants, households of color were twice as likely to be familiar with the Minnesota Homeownership Center than were white households. This was a particularly encouraging finding as the Center has made outreach to households of color a priority based on the fact that these households were systematically excluded from homeownership in previous generations and are still at a significant disadvantage in achieving homeownership today as a result.

As with the findings uncovered in our SROI exercise, the results of this survey of Minnesota non-homeowners potentially able to achieve sustainable homeownership if desired will help us to continue to optimize our work. We’re excited to have all of this rich new data in our hands!

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