Oct 05 2006

COOL Solutions: First-time Home "Yers"

If an automobile is the vehicle that transports consumers to the richness of the American Dream, the home is the destination and the place where the American Dream is domiciled. That’s one topic cited by George Hofheimer in his executive summary to a newly released study, First-Time Home “Yers”, by Tammi S. Feltham, associate professor of Human Ecology at the University of Manitoba.

The study examines the most important financial purchase most individuals ever make: the first home. Many consider home ownership to be the most tangible manifestation of the American Dream. Indeed, the home is the largest and most important asset for nearly all consumers.

Feltham and her research team talked to 206 young credit union members – 53% male and 47% female – of five credit unions, ages 25 to 34 years old, about their experiences in buying and financing their first home. The resulting study looks into the motivations, experiences and levels of satisfaction of young adults’ first home purchases, and finds a variety of opportunities to guide credit unions to serve the next generation of home buyers. Although credit unions are relative newcomers to the mortgage game, this study illustrates that first-time home buyers find the mortgage process to be complex and confusing, and welcome guidance and information from their credit union.

“Since 2004,” Hofheimer says, “Filene has published numerous studies and spoken to thousands of credit union leaders about the need for credit unions to effectively reach out to younger generations of consumers. In 2002, 18- to 24-yearolds made up 10% of credit union membership. In 2006 that number dropped to 6%, according to the Credit Union National Association. In recent years, credit union membership and loan growth have sputtered. One way to reverse this trend is to study Gen Y’s behaviors and preferences during key financial events in their lives.”