There was a 21% jump in home sales in 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors. This means good news for veterans, as a housing loan is one of the many benefits they are entitled to. Other benefits take the form of a pension, long-term care, and education. Veterans now also report feeling more optimistic about buying a home in 2021 and the coming years.
Veteran Attitudes Toward Home Buying
Around 80% of veterans have said that it is better to own a home than renting, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The same survey found that 58% of veterans have reported that they plan on buying a home within the next five years — a dream that many thought was not possible in the past couple of years. This optimism is partly because of the VA home loans they can take out, and their belief that their income will improve this year. The VA home loan benefit may enable a veteran to purchase property without putting any money down upfront. 3% of veterans have reported that it was possible to purchase a home with no down payment, so the optimism has a good basis.
Do Veterans End Up Paying More?
The optimism felt by veterans is a welcome change from November last year, where they were concerned about a disparity in VA loan rates from different lenders. A study conducted by Own Up found that some veterans end up paying more than they should for their VA-backed loans, all because of their choice of lender. The CEO of Own Up, Patrick Boyaggi, said that this disparity is terrible, as veterans were being taken advantage of and they had no clue regarding the process. The takeaway from this information was that veterans needed to shop around in order to find and obtain the best rate they can get, and not get duped by unscrupulous lenders that specifically target them.
Improved VA Loan Eligibility
Earlier this year, former President Donald Trump signed the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act. If passed into law, those that have been in the National Guard for at least 30 days of active service will be eligible for housing loans. This piece of legislation is also applied retroactively — so former members of the guard will also qualify for housing loans. The previous requirement noted 90 days of active service, so the new act widens the net of eligibility for those who have served. This makes the members of the National Guard share in the optimism felt by veterans in being able to secure their dream homes in the future.
Veterans deserve to be suitably cared for: they have sacrificed life and limb in service of their country. The improved VA home loan and optimism about buying a home is a crucial step in the right direction in caring for home-grown heroes and their families. Time will tell if the optimism will stay in the months to come, but for now, it is a good indicator that better times are ahead for the veterans of America.