Americans Think Homeownership a Sound Investment

A vast majority of Americans think home buying is a solid financial decision, and most believe they could sell their home for at least its initial purchase price.

WASHINGTON – October 19, 2015 – A vast majority of Americans think home buying is a solid financial decision, and most believe they could sell their home for at least its initial purchase price, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey also found that a majority of Americans think it's a good time to buy a home.

The survey measures consumers' attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation's 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas. The latest edition found that more than eight in 10 Americans believe a home purchase is a good financial decision, and 68 percent believe it's a good time to buy. Seventy-one percent believe they could sell their house for what they paid for it – a 16 percentage point jump from 2013.

Why does homeownership matter to them? Respondents' answers didn't change significantly from past years. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remained the top three reasons to own a home.

"Realtors believe that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream in a safe, responsible way, which is why NAR advocates homeownership issues and educating potential buyers about achieving their property investment goals," says NAR President Chris Polychron.

  • The number of renters thinking about purchasing a home increased since the last survey in 2013, up from 36 percent to 39 percent; 61 percent say it's a priority. A high number (80 percent) believe pre-purchase counseling programs and classes are very or somewhat important, and 55 percent of homeowners who did not participate in a counseling say they would have done so had it been available.
  • Attitudes about the housing market have improved in recent years: 49 percent of respondents feel housing market activity increased in the past year, compared to 44 percent in 2013 and 12 percent in 2011. Most (89 percent) expect home sales in their area to either increase or remain the same. Concern about foreclosures has also declined, with only 15 percent of respondents considering foreclosure a major concern.
  • In addition to improved attitudes about the housing market, survey participants also showed an improved outlook regarding the economy. Only 36 percent think that job layoffs and unemployment are a big problem, a substantial drop from 45 percent in 2013.
  • Perceived obstacles to homeownership have remained mostly unchanged compared to recent years: 78 percent of respondents point to college debt and student loans as their main obstacle; 76 percent said they have a full-time job but still not enough money; 74 percent can't afford a downpayment and closing costs.
  • As the market has improved, concern about the cost of housing has increased. Two-thirds of survey participants said that home prices are more expensive than a year ago; and 41 percent said the lack of affordable homes is either a very big or fairly big problem in their area, an increase of 9 percent points from 2013.
  • For adult millennials under the age of 35, the burden of student debt is their chief concern, with 86 percent of respondents naming college debt as an obstacle to homeownership. Over half reported that housing costs are a financial strain, 65 percent worry about high rental prices, and 60 percent are concerned about high home prices.

However, millennials tend to have a more upbeat and positive view about the future of the nation than older Americans, with 42 percent of millennials saying that the country is headed in the right direction compared to only 20 percent of those aged 50 and older.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®  All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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