Americans explain why they are struggling to buy a home: 'Suffocated in every corner'

Renter Stela Bermema said the idea of homeownership is now 'like a mirage'

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Americans struggling to buy first homes, get out of starter homes

Renter Stela Bermema and homeowner Anthony Fumo join ‘America Reports’ to discuss Millennials and Gen Zers struggling to buy homes, a pillar of the American dream.

Whether you're a first-time buyer or eyeing an upgrade, securing your slice of the American dream may be more challenging than ever.

Climbing property taxes, an uptick in home insurance rates and high mortgage rates have dismayed first-time buyers like Stella Bermema who say the rite of passage is now seemingly out of their reach.

"I feel suffocated in every corner, everywhere I look," she told Sandra Smith on Fox News' "America Reports" Friday. "There are not enough listings out there because of the reason people are holding on to… their mortgages, with under 3%, which I could have gotten in 2019, possibly. So yes, absolutely it feels very out of reach right now. It's like a mirage."

US HOME PRICES JUST SMASHED ANOTHER RECORD HIGH AS AFFORDABILITY CRISIS DEEPENS

For sale sign outside of house

A house is for sale in Arlington, Virginia, July 13, 2023. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Hunting for a house in the Tampa Bay, Florida area has become a source of frustration for Bermema and her husband, two newlyweds who currently rent.

"Listing prices are high since the pandemic here in Florida because every market is different. Mortgage rates have skyrocketed, which is very different than in the past… and then, the home insurance rates in Florida have doubled if not 110% over the premium price," she explained. "And also property taxes now have also started to creep up, so that's why I've kind of coined the term quadruple quandary… it's no longer a triple threat anymore."

Anthony Fumo, a current homeowner looking to upgrade to accommodate his growing family, says the market in the Northeast tells a similar horror story.

"[It] hasn't increased as much as the Florida area, but we want to go to southern New Jersey to be close to family," he said.

"Property taxes continue to rise and the prices in Philadelphia haven't risen as much and wages certainly have risen that much, so we're in a position where we're waiting for people to continue to sell, so the inventory will go up and hopefully prices stabilize, but you have all these people that are in 3%, 4% mortgages that are just going to stay in place, and the prices are just going to keep going," he added.

WHY CAN'T YOU FIND A HOME FOR SALE?

Homes in Hercules, California

Homeownership has become a distant dream for many Americans today as high costs – combined with other expenses – lead them to look for more affordable alternatives. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Fumo's family is running out of space. Living in a less than a 1,000 square foot home with a four-month-old baby has forced his desk into the living room at this point.

He thinks, given the circumstances, his household might have to consider renting.

"It's becoming almost impossible to ignore the fact that it might be better to just rent in the short term," he said.

"I don't expect that we're going to be able to wait out the market, at this point, just based on where everything is at and where it's looking to go."

Meanwhile, the cost of owning a home just hit a new record. A new report from Redfin showed the median U.S. home sale price soared to an all-time high of $394,000 during the four weeks ending June 9 – increasing 4.4% from the year before.

MORTGAGE CALCULATOR: SEE HOW MUCH HIGHER RATES COULD COST YOU

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Katrina Campins explains how a 'mortgage buydown' can help make home ownership a reality

'Mansion Global' host and FOX Business real estate contributor Katrina Campins joins 'The Big Money Show' to discuss her biggest tips for navigating the housing market in today's economy.

The monthly mortgage payment at that price, when accounting for the 6.99% median interest rate for a 30-year mortgage, is now $2,829. That is roughly $30 shy of April's record.

Housing costs are unlikely to spiral any higher thanks to a recent drop in mortgage rates, which fell after the government reported that inflation cooled in May. However, they may not go much lower, either.

"The latest inflation report is good for homebuyers because it has already sent mortgage rates down, though this week’s Fed meeting will temper mortgage-rate declines," said Chen Zhao, economic research lead at Redfin.

"But on the other side of the coin, if lower mortgage rates bring back more demand than supply, that could erase the possibility that home-price growth softens, and push prices up even further."

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Homeownership is becoming elusive for young Americans: Lydia Hu

FOX Business' Lydia Hu and Lauren Simonetti discuss America's housing affordability crisis on 'Making Money.'

FOX Business' Megan Henney contributed to this report.

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