It’s hard out there for wannabe US homeowners. The market is highly competitive, the prices can be astronomical, and the process is notoriously stressful. So stressful, in fact, that 50% of aspiring US home buyers report crying at least once during the experience.
That’s according to a new survey from Zillow, (which, of course, has a vested interest in offering to demystify the journey to home ownership). In the survey of 2,000 people released this week, Zillow also found that 61% of millennial home buyers and more than 65% of Gen Z home buyers were brought to tears during their house hunt.
Respondents cited affordability and urgency as their biggest stressors. Zillow notes that 60% of sellers reported getting at least two offers on their homes, and that nearly half of homes sold in the US in April went for above asking price.
Although there are some signs that the US housing market could be cooling—interest rates are climbing, and home sales have fallen for the past few months—demand remains high. US home prices were up 20.6% year-over-year in March, and interest rates plus supply chain hiccups are making it hard for new construction to keep up. Those dynamics tend to leave first-time home buyers priced out first.
To be fair to the current market, buying a home was intense even before this frenzy. A similar survey by Homes.com in 2018 found that one in three Americans ended up crying during the process. And even you make it through that gauntlet, you then have a house to take care of. “I was so consumed with the American dream of owning a house… that I lost sight of the true picture,” one Salon reader laments in a letter to an advice columnist titled “I bought a home and now I’m crying every day.” “This dream has turned into a nightmare.”
So what is an emotionally-drained but still-motivated potential homeowner to do? Go west! Specifically the Midwest, where data show there are still cities with homes that most Americans can afford.