Philadelphia-area home buyers are more likely than buyers nationwide to consider selling belongings to raise money to buy a home and are more likely to hesitate to purchase because of high prices, according to a Bank of America report released Thursday that examines home-buying behavior.

Although Philadelphia remains a relatively affordable place to buy a home, low incomes in the city can put homes out of reach.

When consumers are deciding whether to buy, they need “a budget and a plan and a set of resources to make the right decision at the right time,” said Richard Krisinski, a Main Line-based senior vice president and lending market leader at Bank of America.

“We advise consumers to view their financial picture holistically,” he said.

Getting preapproved for a mortgage before starting a home search, taking advantage of grants for home buying assistance, and learning the ins and outs of purchasing can put buyers in a better position in the current competitive market.

Here are some takeaways from the report’s local and national findings, based on online surveys in the first quarter of the year of homeowners and people who plan to buy. It was a national survey of 2,000 adults with “oversampling” in certain cities, including Philadelphia.

How Philly buyers pay for a home

Half of millennials in the greater Philadelphia area who want to buy homes plan to use public or private grants to pay closing costs, according to the Bank of America report. That’s a larger share than for millennial buyers as a whole. Nationwide, 37% plan to use grants to close on a home.

Nationwide and across the region, about 56% of prospective buyers say they have considered getting a second job to be able to purchase a home. Buyers in the Philadelphia region are more likely than their counterparts nationwide to consider selling possessions.

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To become a homeowner, buyers here are as willing as those across the country to give up outdoor space and to buy a home farther from entertainment, restaurants, and shopping. They’re a little more willing to buy a smaller home than they want.

Millennial buyers in the Philadelphia area are more likely than millennial buyers overall to delay purchasing so they can save more money and to give up buying in the location they want so they can find a home that fits their needs. These local buyers are less likely than buyers nationally to increase their initial purchasing budget.

How they behave in a competitive market

More than 40% of aspiring home buyers in the Philadelphia area say they plan to delay purchasing as they wait to see whether the real estate market cools off over the next few months. Of those, two-thirds plan to delay specifically because they don’t have enough money saved for a down payment.

The region’s buyers are more likely than buyers across the country (72% compared with 56%) to say they are hesitant to purchase specifically because of high home prices.

But more buyers in the region than in the country as a whole (73% compared with 65%) say they would make an offer on a home within three days of seeing it.

Millennial buyers in the Philadelphia area are more likely to say they are motivated to purchase a home because they think they should at their age. The same share locally and nationally (43%) say they want to buy so they can start building equity in a home.

Where they want to live

Prospective home buyers in the region are more likely than current homeowners to want to own a home in Center City. About 1 in 5 buyers do, compared with fewer than 1 in 10 homeowners.

One-third of Philadelphia-area residents in Generation Z want to own a home in Old City. The neighborhood is more popular with them than any other generation, according to the Bank of America report.

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Two in 5 residents in the Philadelphia area want to own in the city’s collar counties in Pennsylvania.

More than half of prospective buyers in the region take into account state and local property taxes across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware when choosing whether and where to purchase a home. This share rises to 80% among Generation X.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push toward economic justice. See all of our reporting at