CHERRY HILL, NJ – July 12, 2023 – While more than half (54%) of homebuyers say now is a good time to purchase a home, it's still very much a nerve-wracking process. According to TD's 2023 Mortgage Service Index, 64% of respondents indicated their most recent homebuying experience was stressful.
TD Bank surveyed more than 1,800 homeowners across the country to examine perceptions around the homebuying and mortgage experience, as well as the housing market.
As expected, inventory and interest rates were the biggest factors for many
Home inventory challenges (24%) and mortgage rates (24%) tied as the leading factors that negatively impacted home purchasing decisions. Additionally, a majority (68%) of homebuyers cited shifting interest rates over the last year as a factor in their decision to buy. As inventories in many markets remain inconsistent, almost a third (29%) purchased newly constructed homes.
"The Federal Reserve has increased rates every time it has met for over a year, so the pause on rate hikes last month and the fact that we've likely reached a near peak may offer some respite for buyers," said Steve Kaminski, Head of U.S. Residential Lending for TD Bank. "But given the competitive market and already high home prices, it's understandable that the headache persists for many looking to purchase a home. If inflation continues to tumble and the economic outlook improves, we hope to see the longer end respond favorably and assist in more affordable options. The key to alleviating that stress is speaking to a knowledgeable, trusted lender before beginning a search to ensure buyers are looking within their budget and tapping into all the resources that can save them money."
Despite these inventory and rate challenges, three-fourths (75%) of those surveyed said that the mortgage process did not prevent them from closing on their home within their desired time frame.
With age comes wisdom: experience matters when navigating homebuying
When it comes to navigating the overall homebuying process, sentiment varies between generations:
- Gen Z respondents (81%) and Millennial respondents (71%) were most likely to find the process stressful.
- Baby Boomers, on the other hand, found the process of purchasing a home to be a less taxing experience, with 47% of these respondents indicating they didn’t find homebuying to be stressful.
- While an overwhelming majority of Millennials (84%) and Gen Z (90%) respondents reported interest rates were a factor in their decision to buy, the majority of Baby Boomers (58%) said fluctuating interest rates were not a factor in their decision.
"Right now, it’s important for buyers that are entering the market to focus on what they can control, such as the fundamentals of preparation," said Kaminski. "This includes meeting with a mortgage professional early in the process, knowing your financial position, and gathering documents early, which can help ease some of the concern around price and rates. Connecting with a knowledgeable lender to understand requirements and the process can also help buyers learn about affordable product options that can assist with payments, another potential de-stressor in the process."
While the mortgage process remains intimidating for some, many homebuyers are also comfortable seeking guidance and tapping into automation, to perhaps simplify the experience:
- A majority of homebuyers (95%) shared they have sought information or opinions on products and services offered by different lenders, with over half of respondents (54%) indicating they talked to a realtor in seeking additional information.
- As automation in the mortgage lending process also continues to become more prevalent, 68% of homebuyers say they are very or somewhat familiar with automation being used by some banks to streamline the lending process.
- Eighty-five percent of those with any familiarity would like to see at least some automation in the process.
Flexible Lending Remains a Strong Option for Buyers
As the traditional down payment of 20% or more becomes less of a priority for homebuyers, many are continuing to educate themselves on low down payment and affordability-based options, with 65% of respondents indicating they were familiar with programs designed to help homebuyers seek flexible options.
Interestingly, 40% of respondents spent $2,000 – $5,000 in unexpected charges during the homebuying process and another 10% say they paid over $5,000. This reinforces the importance of leaning on experts like realtors and loan officers who can provide valuable insight on the total cost of homeownership and affordability programs that allow for down payments as low as 3%, saving buyers money on out-of-pocket expenses.
Among low down payment programs, TD Bank's newest mortgage option, TD Home Access Mortgage, recently expanded its lender credit to $10,000 for purchase transactions which may be applied to closing costs and the down payment, two areas that can be roadblocks to homeownership. The lender credit can also be used to buy down a borrower's interest rate, which can also help with affordability.
“Purchasing a home is one of the paths to building generational wealth for many, and trusted lenders are focused on making the process more accessible,” said Kaminski. “As factors like uncertain economic conditions, low home supply and fluctuating interest rates continue to make potential homebuyers feel sidelined, it's important for them to know that lenders and many home professionals are continuing to evaluate processes and products to ensure homeownership is more equitable and inclusive.”
This report presents the findings of a CARAVAN® survey conducted by Big Village Insights among a sample of 1,813 U.S. homeowners who last purchased a home within the past 10 years and acquired a mortgage when they bought their most recent home. The survey was live from May 16 – 26, 2023.
About Big Village
Big Village Insights is a global research and analytics business uncovering not just the ‘what’ but the ‘why’ behind customer behavior, supporting clients’ insights needs with agile tools, CX research, branding, product innovation, data & analytics, and more. Big Village Insights is part of Bright Mountain Media. Find out more at https://big-village.com/.
About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing over 9.9 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,100 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Auto Finance, a division of TD Bank, N.A., offers vehicle financing and dealer commercial services. TD Bank and its subsidiaries also offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.td.com/us. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US and www.twitter.com/TDNews_US.
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