Gallup: Americans Not So Hot on Homeownership

Even seven years after the bubble housing market bubble burst in 2008, Americans are still positive about home buying, though their optimism on the prospect of homeownership has wavered in recent years, says a recent Gallup poll.

Currently, 69% of Americans say now is a good time to buy a house, down from an average of 74% who felt the same in 2013 and 2014, according to results from Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey conducted April 9-12. Despite the decline over the years, optimism prevailed in the recent Gallup results, especially when considering the 27% of survey respondents who said now is a bad time to buy.

The diminishing positive perceptions of home buying, Gallup suggests, may have been influenced by lackluster home sales earlier this year affected by this winter’s unusually cold weather.

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History has indicated that since 1978 Americans have generally been optimistic about the home-buying climate, with majorities saying it is a good time to buy even in times when the economy struggles, including after the housing bubble burst. This measure, Gallup notes, likely reflects the value Americans put on homeownership in addition to their views on the prevailing housing market.

“Although Americans’ perceptions of real estate as the best long-term investment sank considerably during the recent recession, prior to that it was the clear leader of four possible choices, and more recently, it has returned to the top spot,” writes Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones.

Breaking down confidence levels by region, optimism that now is a good time to buy dropped the most since 2013-2014 among Americans living in the Western part of the country, with 64% now saying this, down from an average 75%.

There were smaller drops among those living in the Eastern (69% vs. 72%) and Southern (68% vs 72%) parts of the country. Views in the Midwest, however, were up in 2015 to an average go 77%, compared to 75% in 2013-2014.

Although Americans are slightly less positive about home buying in general, more than half (59%) expect home prices to rise in their local areas—the highest percentage anticipating an increase since 2006, when 60% did, according to Gallup. On the contrary, 29% believe prices will stay the same and 11% expect prices to fall.

But whether news about surging U.S. home sales will boost home-buying optimism remains to be seen, favorable market conditions continue to offer opportunities for homeownership.

“Mortgage interest rates remain low, and higher consumer confidence than in recent years works in favor of continued strong home sales, particularly if the slump in sales earlier this year was mainly because of unusual weather conditions,” writes Jones.

Gallup poll results are based on telephone interviews conducted with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, all living in the U.S. and the District of Columbia.

View the Gallup poll.

Written by Jason Oliva

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