A vast majority of Americans believe that buying a home 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 National Housing Pulse Survey also found that a preponderance of Americans think that now is a good to buy a home.
The survey, which measures consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas, found that more than eight in 10 Americans believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision, and 68% believe that now is a good time to buy a home. Seventy-one percent believe they could sell their house for what they paid for it, a jump of 16 percentage points from 2013.
When asked for reasons about why homeownership matters to them, respondents’ answers did not change significantly from past years. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top three reasons to own a home.
“Homeownership is part of the American Dream, and this survey proves that dream is alive and thriving in our communities,” said Chris Polychron, NAR's president. “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.”
According to Plychron, the number of renters who are now thinking about purchasing a home has increased since the last survey in 2013, up from 36% to 39%. Sixty-one percent of renters stated that owning a home is a priority for their future. According to the survey, 80% of respondents believe that pre-purchase counseling programs and classes are very or somewhat important. Forty-five percent of homeowners who said they did not take a counseling program, reported they would have taken part in one had it been easily available to them.
Attitudes about the housing market have improved in recent years. Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated that they feel activity in the housing market has increased in the past year, compared to 44% in 2013 and 12% in 2011. Eight-nine percent expect home sales in their area to either increase or remain the same. Concern about foreclosures has also declined, with only 15% of respondents indicating that foreclosure is a major concern.
For adult millennials under the age of 35, the burden of student debt is their chief concern, with 86% of respondents naming college debt as an obstacle to homeownership. Over half reported that their housing costs are a financial strain on their budget, 65% are concerned about high rental prices and 60% 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% of millennials saying that the country is headed in the right direction compared to only 20% among those aged 50 and older.
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