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For many Georgians, poor credit scores remain primary roadblock to homeownership

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New study finds 62 percent of Georgians want to buy a home, but nearly 40 percent are hindered by a poor credit score

Gray house with porch and landscaped yard.
A new home may be further in the future for some buyers.
Karon Warren

Home prices may be on the rise, but that’s not the “make or break” factor holding many potential buyers back from purchasing a home.

According to a new survey conducted by Ipsos for COUNTRY Financial, 51 percent of Georgia millennials and 38 percent of Georgians overall said a poor credit score was the largest obstacle to homeownership.

In addition, 30 percent of Georgian millennials said they don’t have enough savings for a down payment. Even so, many Georgians are still closing mortgage loans with small down payments. In fact, per the survey, 75 percent of Georgians said they put down 10 percent or less on their mortgage loan, while 59 percent said they put just 5 percent or less down on their mortgage loan.

For many Georgia residents, purchasing a home remains a top priority, with 70 percent stating it as their No. 1 priority, followed by traveling (69 percent), paying off debt (56 percent), and getting married (24 percent).

For millennials, that number jumps to 85 percent for purchasing a home, 91 percent for traveling, and 82 percent for paying off debt. According to the survey, if given $25,000 tomorrow, 38 percent of Georgia millennials would rather put this new found money toward a down payment for a new home or pay off a mortgage than use it to pay off their credit card debt (27 percent) or student loan debt (13 percent).

No wonder the survey found millennials to be the most likely to purchase a home (48 percent) in the next two years when compared with other age groups: 35-49 (13 percent), 50-64 (10 percent), 65+ (5 percent).

Before they do so, though, they’ll need to spend those two years improving their credit scores and saving for their down payments.