Americans Skipping Meals, Vacations To Afford Housing Costs

Americans are making sacrifices ranging from fewer vacations to skipping meals to afford housing costs.

Just under 50% of U.S. homeowners and renters say they regularly or greatly struggle to make their housing payments, and many are giving up other things to pay in full, according to a new survey from Redfin.

Of the 3,000 American homeowners and renters surveyed, a third of respondents said they are taking fewer or no vacations in order to make their payments, the most common response by far. But others are forced to take more serious action.

An equal share of others said they skipped meals, worked extra hours at their job, or sold belongings (approximately 20% for each category.)

One of every six people who struggled borrowed money from friends or family, while another 17.6% took funds from their retirement savings.

Disturbingly, 15% delayed or skipped medical treatments in order to cover the cost of shelter.

“Housing has become so financially burdensome in America that some families can no longer afford other essentials, including food and medical care, and have been forced to make major sacrifices, work overtime, and ask others for money so they can cover their monthly costs,” said Redfin Economics Research Lead Chen Zhao.

“Fortunately, the country’s leaders are starting to pay attention, and homebuyers may get a reprieve in June if the Federal Reserve cuts interest rates, which would bring down the cost of getting a mortgage.”

Until then, buyers are looking for other ways to keep their monthly expenses to a minimum. One solution: a big down payment. The median down payment for U.S. homebuyers was $55,640 in February, up 24.1% from $44,850 at the same time last year.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said last month that inflation may not reach 2% until 2026 but believes rates have hit their peak. The committee is expected to start dialing them back at some point this year. But he did not indicate when that might be, saying they will continue to make their decisions meeting by meeting.

Wall Street is betting on June for the first cut, with two more coming by year-end.

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