The housing finance system in the United States, despite some recent hiccups, has served us well helping to maintain homeownership rates of 60+% for many years. Suffice it to say, once you are in the system, it generally works as a mechanism to provide stable housing and also to build wealth over time.
I joined the homeownership ranks in 1982 when my wife and I purchased our first home in Lynchburg, Virginia. My parents helped us with the down payment and the previous owner provided financing at 12% interest which was much better than the market rates of 15%+.
I recently calculated that my wife and I currently pay about 10% of our income for housing. We live in a 2,000 square foot house in Cary that was built in 1985. After being in the homeownership “game” since the ‘80’s our mortgage is nearly paid off.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development suggests that a family should not have housing expenses in excess of one-third of their income, yet recent statistics show that 1 out of every 6 Raleigh families are paying in excess of 50% of their income for housing. 1 out of 6!!
I’m proud that Habitat’s ministry gives families an opportunity to get in the homeownership game, just as my parents provided for me. As donors and volunteers you make it possible for families to acquire a decent and stable place to call home, while helping them to build assets to support them in many other ways in life.