Poll: Majority of Americans say now is a good time to buy a house

Even with fears of a double dip in home prices, the majority (67%) of Americans feel now is a good time to buy a house according to a new Gallup Poll.

While the percentage has fallen from the 72% of April 2010 and the 71% of April 2009, the poll suggest Americans are holding on to perceptions of a buyer’s market despite the challenges of securing financing and observers’ concerns about the potential for a housing “double-dip.”

In retrospect, the sharp decline in housing price expectations from 2007 to 2008 may have been a good indication that many Americans saw the now-infamous housing bubble forming in their local markets before many observers recognized it on the national scene. In this regard, Americans’ subdued expectations on whether local-market housing prices will increase this year might indicate that housing still has a way to go before it recovers.

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The poll also suggests that borrowers who plan on purchasing a home exercise caution in today’s market.  One in four Americans say they expect home prices in their communities to decline in 2011. And in a separate question, Gallup finds an even greater 42% who are worried that their own house will lose value — another troubling sign for potential buyers and for the housing outlook overall.

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Given these uncertainties, potential home buyers might want to avoid thinking about a home purchase right now as an investment. Because both the U.S. housing finance system and, most likely, the structure of the housing market are likely to change significantly during the years ahead, it may at best be a “good time” for Americans to buy a home as a place to live.

Results for poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 7-9, 2011, with a random sample of 1,018 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

To view the full report, see here.

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  • If the sample comes from a true sample of the adult population, then there is a percentage of renters in that group. If 42% of the responders speak about concern in the loss of value of their own homes, what percentage is that of just homeowners included in the sample? It could easily be over 60% if over 30% of the responders were renters. Based on the natural optimism of Americans, this response does not bode well for the residential real estate business community.

    If home values are going to rise this calendar year, what is the driver?

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