Seventy-three percent of people who’ve been financially challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic say it will take at least six months to recover, and 46% expect it will take a year or more, according to a NeighborWorks America’s 2021 Housing and Financial Capability Survey.

Overall, about three in 10 households were financially impacted by the pandemic. Of the 3% that lost their homes, two in three experienced homelessness, reports the organization.

Marietta Rodriguez
Marietta Rodriguez

“The opportunity to pursue the American dream of homeownership is still too limited, especially in communities of color across all income brackets,” said NeighborWorks America president and CEO Marietta Rodriguez. “NeighborWorks America and the NeighborWorks network work hard every day to open up the path of homeownership to all those who wish to pursue the dream of owning their own home.”

Six in 10 surveyed Americans own their homes, but that number is significantly lower for Black and Hispanic or Latinx households. Black homeownership remains the lowest among those surveyed—42% of Black adults own a home, a rate virtually unchanged from a year ago, compared with 69% of white adults and 53% of Hispanic or Latinx adults.

The inability to afford a down payment is a major obstacle to homeownership, and the lack of credit looks to be a cause in the widening gap in homeownership and wealth disparities among Black, Hispanic or Latinx, and white Americans, according to NeighborWorks.

Among all Americans, nearly 31% have had financial applications denied or delayed due to their credit score, including 41% of Black adults, 39% of Hispanic or Latinx adults, and 36% of low-income earners. In contrast, just 27% of white adults have had a financial application denied because of a credit score.

These problems are more acute for non-homeowners—in particular, 43% of Black non-homeowners have had financial applications denied because of a credit score.

The survey also finds that more than one in three Americans (36%) are looking for a new place to live. Affordability was the top priority followed by a home that feels safe or secure.The online survey was conducted from April 19 to 28 among 1,603 adults ages 18 and older, including oversamples for Black, Hispanic or Latinx, and Asian adults.