Yes, The American Dream Is Still Alive. Here’s How To Buy A House In This Market.

Yes, The American Dream Is Still Alive. Here’s How To Buy A House In This Market.

Not that it needs saying, but the economy is still a mess. Inflation is high, the value of a dollar isn’t what it used to be, and interest rates are insane. At the same time, most salaries are not increasing, the job market is terrible, and people are struggling to find work. This combination makes it seem as though it’s not at all possible to buy a home. But is it actually impossible?

Boomers often look at young people and say, “Well, interest rates were even higher in my day, and I still managed to buy a home.” The difference is, salaries increased along with the prices of homes. In 2024, that has not happened. As a result, young people are priced out of the market, especially if they are living in metropolitan areas. However, I believe there is a solution to this bad combination of economic woes.

Conversations about starter homes go viral on X all the time. All it takes is one person tweeting something like this, judging people for “skipping over starter homes” and buying houses that are too expensive, contributing to their own financial demise.

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To be fair, he’s correct. Expectations should be in check – based on where you live and what your salary is. But I do not think this is why people are failing financially, nor do I think he has any idea how much a starter home in 2024 actually is. In most relatively metropolitan areas where people are working and commuting to and from, starter homes start at around $300,000. The replies argued as much:

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Now, we have probably all heard the “stop buying avocado toast” argument. When I was in college, my mom would tell me that if I wanted to buy a house someday, I couldn’t spend all my money on Starbucks. I have a love-hate relationship with this statement. On the “love” side, it is true smaller purchases add up. Spending $50 a day on random things here and there ends up being $18,000 at the end of the year. However, on the “hate” side, I think these types of statements trivialize the actual problem at stake, which is that low salaries, high interest rates, and high prices all around make it near impossible to save for a down payment or be able to make a mortgage payment.

Another solution people commonly pose is to live in the middle of nowhere, so you can buy a five-bedroom house for $200,000. While this is true in some parts of the country, many people cannot make this proposed solution work logistically. Although they might be able to afford the house, they might not be able to pull off living in the middle of nowhere because there are no job opportunities, plus schools and grocery stores are 45 minutes away. So, this suggestion just ends up being counterproductive and unhelpful, which some tweets, like this one, are quick to point out:

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The issue of not being able to afford a house is not just relegated to Gen Z. Wall Street Silver went so far as to question if we even have a middle class, tweeting that “homeownership is no longer a staple of the middle-class American Dream.”

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This should not be the case. People should not just shrug it off, saying, “Oh, well, that’s just life in 2024.” And people should not be stuck in this cycle. So, what is the solution? First, we need to vote accordingly. But until we can do that and until circumstances hopefully change, there are steps you can take. This is not a hopeless situation if you truly want to buy a home.

In Nashville, for example, there are very few homes for sale at or around $300,000, and the ones that are at that price point are not in the safest of areas and they would require a fair amount of renovating. So while you might save money on a down payment, you would spend a pretty penny renovating the entire house. Plus, these homes aren’t even in Nashville proper. You would still be looking at a 20- to 30-minute commute.

That means, if you want a house in Nashville, you have to change your expectations. Since you would already be driving at least 20 minutes from an unsafe, not move-in ready home if you bought at $300,000, could you, instead, add an extra 10 minutes to that drive? If you want to own a home, are you willing to sacrifice a shorter drive for a longer one? If so, you could afford a starter home that is clean, move-in ready, and in a safe area.

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I know this is possible because I know people who have done it — and I am one of them. The farm my husband and I just bought would have never been in our budget had we lived within 20 minutes of work. So, I spend two hours in the car every single day because that is the house I want to go home to, it is the lifestyle I want to have, and it is the place I want to raise our future children. My producer and her husband similarly worked through this decision a couple months ago, and they bought the cutest historical home outside Nashville where they are actually saving on their mortgage, compared to the rent they had been paying. Which is rare in 2024.

All of this to say, buying an affordable home is possible. All the posts and articles that claim the American Dream of owning a home is completely dead just aren’t true. It might be harder, but it is still possible.

You can buy a house, but you must figure out what your priorities are. If you are willing to make some sacrifices, like driving longer to work, it’s entirely possible. If, however, you don’t want to commute, that is ok, and while the market is truly terrible, renting can still be a mostly affordable option.

The point is, you have to decide what you value and what is most important to you. You must choose where you are going to put your money. That may be different than everyone else around you — and that is ok.

For plenty of people, buying a home isn’t the most important next move and they choose to prioritize other things. For example, after college, my husband moved to New York City for five years where he made incredible connections and created an invaluable network for his career. Instead of buying a house at 23 with a stupidly low interest rate, he chose to move and the return on his career investment was significant. But still, he knew NYC was not where he wanted to be long term, so when those five years lapsed, he reprioritized, moved to Nashville, bought a starter home, met me, and the rest is history.

Now, I do not give these examples to trivialize this problem because there is no getting around the fact the American middle class is disappearing, which has never been the case before. I share these anecdotes to hopefully provide a feeling of empowerment and a reality that there are other options. Life is not as black and white as it may seem on X.

I wish everyone could just buy whatever house they want, but that’s not how the world works. It’s true that life isn’t fair and it never has been. But if you are honest with yourself about what you really value, you’ll be able to prioritize to make life more of what you want. Then, all it takes is some creative, unconventional thinking in determining and realizing there is a way to your goals.

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Note: This article has been edited for clarity.

Originally Posted on: https://www.dailywire.com/news/yes-the-american-dream-is-still-alive-heres-how-to-buy-a-house-in-this-market
By: Brett Cooper

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