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Analysis: Stress and Regrets of New Homeowners

The newest national survey of new homeowners commissioned by U.S News & World 360 Report Reviews found that a majority of new homeowners who purchased a home since the beginning of 2021 reported that they felt “house rich and cash poor” with many admitting they felt pressure to buy as home prices ramped up. 

Using Pollfish, U.S. News surveyed 2,000 households on their homebuying experience. The group was selected to be representative of the population at large. Forty-four percent of respondents were female; the remaining 56% identified as male. 

“Our new homeowner survey reveals the current stressors involved in the homebuying and moving experience among first-time buyers—more than half (56%) of new homeowners reported unexpected repairs since moving in and one-third (33%) spent more than $1,000 in unexpected repairs since moving in,” said Kyle Wagner, Ratings Editor for 360 Reviews. He added, “Perhaps most surprising is the fact that respondents ranked moving as the most stressful life event more stressful than breaking up with a romantic partner, planning a wedding, or having a baby.” 

Adding to that stress, the median sales price of a home went from $335,900 at the beginning of 2021 to $449,000 in May 2022, which surely pressured people to get into homes sooner than they otherwise would have. 

All-in-all, 50% of new homeowners wish they would have waited to buy a home until they had more money saved. Forty percent of homeowners bought their home because of rising prices while 35% wish they had bought a home earlier than they did.

According to the report, respondents who wished they’d waited longer to buy also primarily cited financial reasons: half of them (51%) said they wished they’d waited so they could save more money, and almost half (47%) said they wished they’d waited “until home prices went down.” 

The costs of new homeownership were also a stressor for respondents. Two-thirds (66%) purchased a home warranty (but 14% don’t understand how their policy works), 56% of new homeowners had unexpected repairs since moving in, and 33% spent more than $1,000 in unexpected repairs since moving in. 

While quantifying stress can be a challenge, the survey also asked respondents to rank how stressful buying a house was compared to other common, high-stress life events—respondents ranked purchasing a home as the most stressful life event they have endured, higher than breaking up with a partner, planning a wedding, or having a child.

Click here to view the report in its entirety. 

About Author: Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for DS News and MReport. 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 [email protected].

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