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Tough-to-Crack Housing Market Has U.S. Buyers Eyeing Second Jobs

By Suzanne Woolley and Katherine Doherty

Would-be homeowners are getting creative — or you might say desperate — in how they plan to save for downpayments and purchase homes, according to a new survey. To afford a house, many Americans would consider taking a second job, starting an online store or selling some of their belongings.

A home for sale in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. Last month’s housing supply in the Philadelphia metropolitan area was down 9% from December 2020 and down about 35% from pre-pandemic levels in December 2019, according to Zillow. Photographer: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg

The U.S. housing market has been on fire for the better part of two years, keeping many first-time buyers on the sidelines. Now, after a surge in mortgage rates, it’s becoming even more difficult to find affordable properties. In a survey released by Bank of America Thursday, respondents cited expensive home prices (56%), higher interest rates (40%) and uncertainty about affording closing costs (30%) as reasons they might hesitate to buy. 

More than a third of millennials surveyed said the “pressures of adulthood” meant they should be buying a home at their age. Still, with a dearth of  houses available, many are delaying purchases to ensure the home is right for the long term, according to Matt Vernon, head of retail lending for Bank of America.

To save for a down payment, more than half of the 2,000 people in the survey said they’d contemplate a second job, and 34% would think about launching an online store to sell handicrafts.

“There are now new and more creative ways to accelerate savings by doing side hustles,” Vernon said in an interview.

While many are focused on saving, there are still certain things prospective homeowners don’t want to give up. More than a third said they wouldn’t buy fewer clothes or travel less to save for a home, and 15% would rather save less for a home than forego visits to a salon or getting a massage.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com.

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