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What Do Homeowners Fear Most? Unexpected Major Repairs

A survey of 1,500 Americans found that only 18% “don’t have any housing worries.” 1 in 3 worry about major unexpected repairs; 17% fear home prices will go down.

NEW YORK – Homeowners are sitting on a record amount of equity, so what has them so worried about housing? A new study by LendingTree surveyed more than 1,500 Americans to gauge their expectations of homeownership.

Their No. 1 worry? Upcoming repairs needed on their home. Nearly one-third of respondents (32%) cited major home repairs as their top housing-related worry.

More than half of respondents surveyed say that homes are becoming less affordable in their neighborhoods. As a result of those higher prices, they plan to stay put longer. And as a result of staying longer, nearly three out of four respondents are considering renovations.

Of those considering renovations this year, 53% said they were motivated by a desire to increase their home’s value. Other reasons were to give the home an updated look (24%), make the home easier to sell (22%) and add more space (9%).

While rising home prices have some homeowners concerned, they’re still upbeat about the housing market overall – and they’re upbeat about their equity: 55% of respondents said they believe their home’s value will improve this year; and 68% said they believe homeownership is a good investment.

But rising home prices do spur concerns for them about affordability: 53% predict housing will be less affordable over the next decade. Gen Xers and baby boomers – at 53% and 57%, respectively – are the most pessimistic about housing affordability.

Overall, about 1 in 5 homeowners (18%) have no housing worries. Of those who do, the following tops their list:

  1. Will have to make major repairs: 32%
  2. Home value will go down: 17%
  3. Mortgage payment will increase: 13%
  4. It will be hard to find a new house: 8%
  5. Won’t be able to sell the house: 6%
  6. Will become underwater on their mortgage: 4%
  7. Other: 2%

Source: “LendingTree Survey: More Than Half of Homeowners Expect Home Values to Rise in 2020,” LendingTree (Feb. 24, 2020)

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