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Poll Finds Many Consumers Hesitant to Purchase Homes; Prosper Us President Says Homeownership Helps Families Build Assets
Thursday, June 5, 2014 6:35 AM

June may be National Homeownership Month, but a recent poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling finds many consumers aren’t ready to make the leap. In fact, one in five respondents don’t believe taking on a mortgage is worth the risk.

This attitude is consistent with the U.S. Census Bureau's current report highlighting the declining rate of homeownership. The present rate of 64.8 percent representing the first quarter 2014 is the lowest homeownership rate in almost 19 years.

The NFCC notes that there several benefits to renting, such as allowing consumer time to prepare for homeownership. Renters also pay less money upfront, and avoid costly purchases such as appliances. Renters are also able to save money on insurance, as renters insurance is cheaper than homeowner insurance.

“There is a time and place to rent; however, if you want to develop family wealth and build assets, the best way is through homeownership – particularly for low-to-moderate income households,” says Larry Garcia, president of Prosper Us (formerly known as the El Paso Affordable Housing CUSO).  “Homeownership stabilizes families and communities.”

Garcia agrees with the NFCC in that potential homeowners need to be prepared to take on the responsibilities of homeownership.  

“The situation has to be right. They need a mortgage loan that they can afford and they have to be in a position to cover all of the costs associated with owning a home,” Garcia notes.

Annually, Prosper Us helps thousands of families in the El Paso, Texas area achieve greater financial stability and homeownership through financial education classes, home buying classes and tax consulting through VITA sites. According to Garcia, Prosper Us - in partnership with area credit unions, the IRS, the local housing authority, YMCA, United Way, University of Texas El Paso, and others - prepared 6,500 tax returns this tax season, and the families they helped prepare tax returns for received approximately $7.8 million in tax credits.

“We helped return about $12 million back into the pockets of El Paso residents,” Garcia tells the Leaguer. “This money is helping families work toward their financial goals.”