New study reveals home price, mortgage rate misconceptions among Americans

Many respondents in the dark about current prices and rates

The difficult real estate market hasn’t hindered America’s obsession with homeownership, but misconceptions abound, according to a new survey from Clever Real Estate and Real Estate Witch.

More than half of respondents (53%) are still checking out Zillow listings at least once a week during the home search process, according to the poll, which survey 1,000 people in late June. Twenty-nine percent are looking at Zillow at least once a day.

The survey revealed what many similar studies have likewise uncovered: Americans widely perceive that the market suffers from an affordability problem. But while 73% of non-homeowners are concerned about the rise of interest rates and an equal share of Americans don’t think that homes are currently affordable, many don’t understand just how unaffordable they are.

Sixty percent of respondents underestimated the median home price, with only 14% knowing that the U.S. median price ranges from $400,000 to $499,999 (at the time of the survey, the national median price was $436,800, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis). Twenty-three percent thought the median home price fell between $300,000 and $399,999, while another 23% thought the median price was between $200,000 and $299,999.

Americans who have yet to achieve homeownership are more likely to research the market and be familiar with listings, so it follows that those who have never owned a home are 15% more likely than actual homeowners to estimate the correct median range.

Additionally, 34% of poll participants paid more for their home than they originally planned. Furthermore, only 12% of Americans know that the current interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hovers between 6% and 7%.

In a fascinating reversal from the poll’s findings on home price awareness, however, non-homeowners who are more likely to be affected by rising interest rates are less knowledgeable about them than current homeowners. Only 8% of non-homeowners know the current range of mortgage rates, compared to 15% of homeowners. Also of note is that many Americans overestimate the interest rate, with 43% believing it’s higher than 7% and another 26% assuming it’s at least 10%.


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