Most Teens Aspire to Own a Home Someday but Report Significant Financial and Homeownership Knowledge Gaps

A new survey by Junior Achievement USA and Fannie Mae shows most teens (88%) would like to own a home someday. The survey reflects that most teens (85%) believe “owning a home” is part of “the good life,” compared to nearly as many adults (87%) based on Fannie Mae’s Q4 2020 National Housing Survey®. However, fewer than half (45%) of surveyed teens could correctly identify the definition of a home mortgage and 76% said they lacked clear understanding of credit scores. The survey of 1,000 nationally representative U.S. teens between the ages of 13 and 17 was conducted from May 25 through May 31, 2022, by Wakefield Research.

While nearly all teens (96%) believe credit scores plays an important role in the ability to purchase a home, approximately three in four (76%) said they understood credit scores only “somewhat,” “a little,” or “not at all.” Nearly all teens (97%) thought it would be helpful if schools offered lessons that explained homeownership, including mortgages.

“There’s been this theme that younger Americans aren’t interested in homeownership, but the results of this survey contradict that assumption,” said Jack E. Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. “Teens appear very interested in owning a home someday but seem to realize they need more information on how to do it.”

“Young people today are the homebuyers of tomorrow. By providing them access to quality, foundational education now, Fannie Mae and Junior Achievement are helping these future homeowners to prepare for the mortgage and homebuying process when they’re ready to take that step,” said Jeffery Hayward, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Fannie Mae. “Fannie Mae is committed to supporting sustainable homeownership, and the results of this survey reinforce how homeownership and financial education can enable aspiring homeowners to be successful in their housing journey, both in buying a home and sustaining it over the long term.”

In response to young people’s interest in learning more about the financial aspects of buying a home, Fannie Mae is supporting the development and deployment of Junior Achievement learning experiences for thousands of students annually in various age groups. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, relevant content from Fannie Mae’s HomeView™ homeownership course materials and resources, designed with first-time homebuyers in mind, are integrated in an age-appropriate manner into Junior Achievement programs and made available to students in both digital and print formats.

Other key survey findings include:

  • In addition to owning a home, most teens also believe that “living in a location I like” (90%), “being in good health” (96%), “having an interesting job” (87%), and “having a good work-life balance” (96%) are an important part of “the good life.” Only a slight majority of teens (51%) said “having children” is an important part of having “the good life,” compared to more than three in four adults (77%) from the 2020 National Housing Survey.
  • Most teens (61%) say their parents own their home. Less than half of Black teens (44%) responded that way, with nearly as many saying they rent (42%). A little over half of Hispanic/Latino teens (52%) say their parents own their home, compared to one-third (33%) who say they rent.
  • A slight majority of White teens (52%) correctly identified the definition of a mortgage, compared to around a quarter (26%) of Black teens and fewer than half (41%) of Hispanic/Latino teens.
  • A majority of White teens (72%) identified their family as being the biggest influence on their opinions about homeownership. This sentiment was shared by more than half of Black teens (59%) and Hispanic/Latino teens (66%).

Demographic notes:

  • Black, non-Hispanic – Any teen (13-17) who reports their race as “black” or “African American” and are not of Hispanic or Latino heritage.
  • Hispanic – Any teen (13-17) who reports being of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.
  • White, non-Hispanic – Any teen (13-17) who reports their race as “white” and are not of Hispanic or Latino heritage.
  • Other – Any teen (13-17) who reports their race as something other than the above (include Asian/Pacific Islander or Native American as asked in this survey) and are not of Hispanic or Latino heritage.


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