The O’Farrells paid $290,000 for their current home, more than $40,000 above the original listing price. Mr. O’Farrell believes he overpaid, but had no other choice.
“A lot of veterans are being left out of the process, because they can’t compete,” said Deonte Cole, a retired Marine Corps veteran who now works as a broker in Tampa, Fla. “We’ve got a surplus of ready and willing veterans who aren’t able to find homes right now. Sellers are trying to get the best offers they can and they don’t see the V.A. loan as competitive.”
There is a growing civilian-military divide in the United States. According to a Pew Research Center survey, only 33 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have an immediate family member who served in the military, compared to 79 percent of Americans aged 50 to 64.
And when armed service members are required to relocate during active duty, the divide can be economically devastating.
“This market is an absolute nightmare for military families,” said Georganne Hassell, a veteran whose husband is currently in the Air Force. Both did tours in Afghanistan, and they currently live in Ogden, Utah. “Many people don’t have a close connection with a military family, and more understanding from Americans about these challenges would be helpful for our country,” she said.
Ms. Hassell and her husband bought a home in Ogden in June 2020, and are gearing up for another cross-country move in a few months. This time around, in hopes it might make them more competitive, they are considering a conventional loan.
“A huge percentage of the American population has not been in service,” she said. “The V.A. loan is just another unknown, and people tend to gravitate toward what they know. But ultimately the military decides where we live. The military is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle, and moving is part of that.”