Affordable Housing, Community Development, Housing Policy Briefs, Reports and Publications

Federal Reserve System Report Examines the Economic Well-Being of Households in 2016

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System published its Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. households in 2016, which analyzes the results of the Board’s Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking. Among various household topics, the survey and resulting report covers housing and household living arrangements.

In terms of rental households, 57% of renters said they did not own a house because they are unable to save for a downpayment and/or cannot qualify for a mortgage. Other factors contributing to renters choosing to rent instead of own included convenience (28%), belief that it is cheaper than owning (23%), and belief that owning is a bigger financial risk (22%). Respondents were able to select more than one option, resulting in some overlap between contributing factors.

When turning to the experiences of homebuyers, 73% of first-time homebuyers indicated they used personal savings for their downpayment, while 62% of repeat homebuyers used personal savings. Other sources of income included loans or gifts from family, proceeds from a previous home sale, and governmental assistance.

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