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Money News

Would You Give Up the Right to Vote to Own Your Own Home?

May 24, 2018

  • Nearly a quarter of would-be homeowners would trade their right to vote for help on a down payment
  • People would also sacrifice: vacations and dinners out
  • Millennials are somewhat more desperate than other demographics to own homes
2 min read

If you’re like a lot of people, you’re probably willing to sacrifice a lot to buy your first home.

For most people, that probably means years of scrimping and saving for a downpayment, to make the jump from renting, or living at home with parents, to finally having a place of their own.

But nearly a quarter of first-time home buyers said they’d give up something much bigger if they could get help with their downpayment: the right to vote.

You heard that right. That’s according to equity investment company Unison Home Ownership Investors, which polled 1,000 potential homeowners in April, asking them what they’d sacrifice if someone gave them half the standard 20% down payment.

A big financial decision

Certainly, a home purchase is probably the biggest financial decision most people will ever make. And with home values seemingly zooming ever skyward, buyers will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, on average, and spend years paying off their mortgages. Purchasing a home requires aggressive saving to come up with money for a down payment.

The median cost of a home for sale nationwide is $268,500 according to real estate listings site Zillow, and there’s a growing affordable housing crisis caused by a lack of new building, according to this report by CityLab.

Other things people would sacrifice

While giving up the right to elect the next president is pretty extreme, here’s what else people would sacrifice for help on that 20% down:

0%
Forgo their dream car
0%
Give up going on vaca for next 5 years
0%
Give up eating out for next 5 years
0%
Give up their driver's license

The survey took a dive into differences by age and gender too.

More millennials would sacrifice right to vote

It turns out millennials may be more desperate than other age groups. Twenty-six percent of this demographic said they’d give away their right to vote for help purchasing a home, compared to 20% of GenXers and 7% of Baby Boomers.

Millenial
0
GenX
0
Baby Boomer
0

Women, on the other hand, are less likely to give up their right to vote, with 21% saying they’d give it up for that downpayment, compared to 24% of men.

0%
Women
0%
Men

So what are the biggest barriers to homeownership? Money. Other reasons include low credit scores, cited by 37% of respondents, as well as high rental costs that prevent them from saving, flagged by more than a quarter of the survey sample. Nearly 40% said debt from student loans, credit cards, and auto loans hindered them.

Two-thirds of people who plan to buy in the next two years said they had less than $7,000 saved to take the dive.

Homeownership is hot

And here’s something else to think about, for single people who already own their own homes: Nearly 60% of respondents said they would be more likely to marry someone who already owned their own house.

No need to sacrifice your right to vote! You can start saving for your down payment today.

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By Jeremy Quittner
Jeremy Quittner is the senior writer for Stash.

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