Friday, July 8, 2011

7 of 10 renters say owning home a top priority

WASHINGTON – July 7, 2011 – According to the 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey released yesterday by the National Association of Realtors®, 72 percent of renters surveyed said owning a home is a top priority for their future, up from 63 percent in 2010.

Seven in 10 Americans also agreed that buying a home is a good financial decision, while almost two-thirds said now is a good time to purchase a home. The annual survey, which measures how affordable housing issues affect consumers, also found that 77 percent said they would be less likely to buy a home if they were required to put down a 20 percent downpayment on the home, and 71 percent believe a 20 percent downpayment requirement could have a negative impact on the housing market.

More than half – 51 percent – of self-described “working class” homeowners as well as younger non-college graduates (51 percent), African Americans (57 percent), and Hispanic Americans (50 percent) who currently own their homes reported that a 20 percent downpayment would have prevented them from becoming homeowners.

Pulse surveys for the past eight years have consistently identified a downpayment and closing costs as homebuyers’ top obstacles that make housing unaffordable. This year, 82 percent of respondents cited these, followed by confidence in one’s job security.

The survey also found that two-thirds of Americans oppose eliminating the mortgage interest tax deduction (MID), while 73 percent believe eliminating the MID will have a negative impact on the housing market as well as the overall economy.

“The MID facilitates homeownership by reducing the carrying costs of owning a home, and it makes a real difference to hard-working American families,” NAR President Ron Phipps said. “Homeownership offers not only social benefits, but also long-term value for families, communities and the nation’s economy. We need to make sure that any changes to current programs or incentives don’t jeopardize our collective futures.”

When asked why homeownership matters to them, respondents cited stability and safety as the top reason. Long-term economic reasons such as building equity followed closely behind. On a local level, respondents said neighbors falling behind on their mortgages and the drop in home values were top concerns. Foreclosures also continue to remain a large concern, with almost half of those surveyed citing the issue as a problem in their area.

© 2011 Florida Realtors®

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