Money Talks, So Should You

When it comes to homeownership, we're the same

Brian O'Connell
by Brian O'Connell, MainStreet contributor

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — America is only a month away from celebrating its 237th birthday — a celebration of the Great American Melting Pot where people of all ethnicities and religions call the U.S. home no matter where they come from or where their ancestor planted their flags.

Despite our well-known political differences, Americans are actually similar when it comes to money — especially money poured into homeownership.

READ: It's not always about the homes for first-time homeowners

You know, the place where U.S. citizens really call home.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has taken the measure of the matter and concluded that Americans are “far more alike than different when it comes to the many perceptions and behaviors surrounding the home buying process.”

The group studied the three largest U.S. ethnic groups — Caucasians, African Americans and Hispanic Americans — and talked to 400 from each to draw that conclusion.

“In real estate, no two consumers are the same, but our most recent survey findings demonstrate that homeownership has, is and will continue to be a life goal for Americans of diverse populations,” says Sherry Chris, chief executive at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “Furthermore, cultural background does play an interesting role in the behaviors toward homebuying, and we hope real estate professionals will take advantage of these findings to better themselves and the overall consumer experience.”

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How, exactly, do all three groups agree on homeownership?

According to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, in several key ways:

  • A positive outlook: Not only do all three ethnic groups generally like where they live, they also have a sunny outlook on their kids’ chances of owning homes — they even see their children buying a home at an earlier age than they did (78 percent of Hispanics; 74 percent of African-Americans; and 56 percent of caucasians). Far and away, all three groups say their kids will own homes as large or larger than the homes where they grew up.
  • Homeownership as a badge of citizenship: All three ethnic groups view homeownership as the “biggest indicator of status” in the U.S. (African-Americans and Hispanics led the way at 78 percent each, followed by caucasians at 65 percent.)
  • Saving for a home over retirement: For Americans looking to buy a home, saving for that purchase supersedes long-term savings for all three demographic groups (52 percent of Hispanics surveyed say they are saving for a home purchase above all other savings goals; 46 percent of African-Americans; and 44 percent of caucasians say the same thing).
  • Suburbs over cities: Americans of all three ethnic persuasions favor living in the suburbs over living in the city, especially in terms of homeownership. Each of those demographic groups reached 50 percent or more in that “suburbs-over-city” debate, the survey says.

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Americans also apparently want to live in the same state in which they spent their childhoods, and by a slight majority most said they would prefer to “live in the same neighborhoods of their dreams.” By almost a 20 percent margin, though, African-Americans and Hispanics favor living together in so-called “multigenerational” homes with their kids, parents and other extended family members. A clear minority of caucasians feel the same.


Brian O’Connell has 15 years of experience covering business news and trends, particularly in the financial, health care and career management sectors. He has written 14 books and appeared on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, C-Span, Bloomberg, CBS Radio and other media outlets and in such publications as The Wall Street Journal and The He is a former Wall Street bond trader.