Wells Fargo Hosts National Housing Panel, Shares Annual Homeownership Survey Results

Experts Martin Eakes, Self-Help; Laurie Goodman, Urban Institute; Cy Richardson, National Urban League; and Gary Acosta, NAHREP address current U.S. housing environment

WASHINGTON--()--Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) will announce today the topline results of the third annual “How America Views Homeownership” survey and host a discussion with national housing leaders on Sustainable Homeownership and Access to Credit at the National Press Club. The event recognizes June as National Homeownership Month.

Wells Fargo is hosting a panel to share our commitment to helping Americans realize the dream of homeownership,” said Franklin Codel, Head of Wells Fargo Home Lending. “Wells Fargo believes it’s important to take time to engage in a collaborative, national dialogue about how lenders and the housing industry best serve a wide range of qualified customers, how our commitment to doing so will impact communities and our country as a whole, and what questions we should address together about responsibly enabling sustainable homeownership.”

Wells Fargo Executive Vice President and Portfolio Business Manager Brad Blackwell will moderate the panel of experts:

  • Martin Eakes, Co-Founder & CEO, Self-Help Credit Union and Center for Responsible Lending,
  • Gary Acosta, Co-Founder & CEO, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals,
  • Laurie Goodman, Co-Director, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute, and
  • Cy Richardson, Senior Vice President for Economics and Housing Programs, National Urban League.

The event will also unveil highlights of Wells Fargo’s third annual “How America Views Homeownership” survey. Consumers in the 2016 survey affirmed that the appetite for homeownership is strong, particularly among Millennials and diverse groups.

Perhaps recognizing the important responsibilities associated with homeownership, most people believe qualifying for home financing should be rigorous: 91 percent say getting a home loan should be a thorough enough process to ensure the borrower understands what they’re getting into, and 90 percent say potential mortgage borrowers should have to prove they can afford a loan.

At the same time, Wells Fargo’s survey results show that many consumers find the process daunting and may be held back by persistent myths about down payment, credit score and income requirements. For instance, 40 percent of respondents believe a 20-percent down payment is required (in reality, consumers may have other options), and 62 percent believe a consumer must have a “very good credit score” to buy a home.

Consumers want trusted, personalized guidance to help them understand their options, especially the financial obligations associated with buying a home. For example, the top three topics consumers say they would need to learn more about if they were looking to buy a home are: fees and upfront costs of homebuying, what they can buy with a payment they can afford, and down payment options.

The survey revealed that consumers want both digital convenience and personal support when seeking a home loan. For example, 81 percent prefer to have a personal connection with their lender, knowing someone is there to answer questions.

Overall, the survey affirmed that homeownership is still part of the American dream, with 93 percent saying that homeownership is an achievement to be proud of and 86 percent saying it’s a dream come true. Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the study of 3,400 total respondents during May 2016, capping three years of consumer research to assess the attitudes and barriers that consumers face as they consider buying a home.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage provides a wide range of loan products and programs to serve qualified borrowers. For example, the recently introduced yourFirst MortgageSM offers lower down payments and out-of-pocket costs, and incentives for homebuyer education to help more first-time homebuyers and low- to moderate-income families achieve sustainable homeownership.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,800 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s 2016 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

Highlights of 2016 “How America Views Homeownership”
Survey Results

Homeownership is still part of the American dream, and people think now is a good time to buy.

  • 93% agree: Homeownership is an achievement to be proud of.
  • 86% agree: Homeownership is a dream come true.
  • 74% agree: Right now is a good time to buy a home.
  • Proportion of respondents who are considering buying a home in the next two years (answered “Definitely will,” “Probably will,” or “Maybe”):
    • Millennials (Ages 18-34): 58%
    • African Americans: 51%
    • Hispanics: 47%
    • General population: 38%
  • “Definitely will” or “Probably will” buy a home in the next two years:
    • Millennials (Ages 18-34): 40%
    • Hispanics: 33%
    • African Americans: 30%
    • General population: 22%

Most agree that it should be rigorous to get a mortgage.

  • 91% agree: Getting a home loan should be a thorough enough process to ensure the borrower understands what they’re getting into.
  • 90% agree: A potential mortgage borrower should have to prove they can afford a loan.

Many people perceive the mortgage process as being difficult or a hassle. Common myths persist about what is required.

  • Among respondents who do not currently own a home, the top reasons why include:
    • It's difficult to save enough money for a down payment (23%)
    • I'm not sure where I'll be in a few years so I'm not making a long-term commitment to
      a home (20%)
    • My existing credit rating isn't good enough to buy a home (17%)
  • Respondents who have applied (or started to apply) for a mortgage to purchase a home in the last two years were asked the open-ended question, “What was challenging or surprising (positively or negatively) about the homebuying and mortgage processes?”
    • 36% made positive comments – including 23% who say it was good/they liked the process and 12% who were surprised at how easy/fast/smooth the process was.
    • 34% made negative comments, most commonly referencing paperwork/amount of paperwork (8%), and describing the process as long/slow (7%), or hard /stressful/challenging (5%).
  • 40% believe a 20% down payment is required to purchase a home.
    • This misperception is even more prevalent among diverse consumers:
    • 50% among Hispanics,
    • 48% among African Americans.
  • 62% rate the statement “I need to have a very good credit score to buy a home” as true.
  • What is a good credit score?
    • 43% said “721 -780”
    • 34% said “Over 780”
  • 28% are not sure what the minimum credit score to qualify for a mortgage is.
  • Most people believe homebuying involves many unanticipated costs (88%).
  • 78% agree that “Having to go through the homebuying process is a hassle.”

People want the facts about buying a home; they want to know what to expect and what their financial options are when buying a home, and they want personalized guidance.

  • Most prevalent topics people say they would need to learn more about if they were looking to buy a home:
    • Fees and other upfront costs of homebuying (41%)
    • What they can buy with a payment they can afford (39%)
    • Down payment options (36%)
  • If seeking education about homebuying, people by far prefer individualized guidance over group instruction, whether in person or online. (Respondents were asked to select all preferred methods that applied.)
    • Online resources to use at their own pace: 48%
    • Meeting individually with someone, such as a housing counselor, lender or real
      estate agent: 44%
    • An in-person group class: 17%
    • A live, guided online course: 15%
  • If respondents needed help figuring out how to obtain a mortgage, the preferred method of engagement by far is to meet in person (52%). “Finding information online” trails behind at 19%.
  • And when it comes to completing the mortgage process electronically, most people want a combination of online convenience AND human guidance.
    • 88% agree: I want to be able to see each step in the mortgage process so I can understand
      what’s happening.
    • 81% agree: I prefer to have a personal connection with my lender – knowing that someone is there to answer questions and walk me through things.
    • 77% agree: Completing the mortgage process online would be convenient.
    • 71% agree: I would be comfortable completing the mortgage process online as long as I knew I could speak with someone when needed.

These are some of the findings from an Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted on behalf of Wells Fargo from May 4-15, 2016. For the survey, a representative sample of more than 3,400 adults living in the United States were interviewed online in English, including a national general population sample of 1,005 adults, and boost samples among African Americans (n=105) and Hispanics (n=105). The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points for all respondents, 3.5 percentage points for the national sample, and 10.9 percentage points for both boost samples. The credibility interval will be larger within sub-groupings of the survey population. For more information about Ipsos online polling methodology, please visit http://goo.gl/yJBkuf. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's age/sex composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to Census information.


Wells Fargo & Company
Vickee Adams, 515-537-3276
Jennifer Dunn, 202-320-8532
John M. Campbell, 415-396-0523

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Release Summary

Wells Fargo and national housing leaders will discuss sustainable homeownership, access to credit and survey results revealing consumer views on homebuying.

Wells Fargo & Company