Building equity, improvements in the housing market and having the freedom to choose one’s own neighborhood are several key reasons why a vast majority of Americans think homeownership is a “solid financial decision,” according to a recent survey.
More than eight in 10 Americans believe that buying a home is a sound decision, while 68% believe that now is a good time to buy, according to respondents participating in the 2015 National Housing Pules Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The survey, which measures consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing issues, was conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity program. Via telephone, the survey polled 1,000 adults nationwide across various age groups in the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas.
The optimistic attitudes toward housing proves that the dream of homeownership is “alive and thriving,” says NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark.
“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,” Polychron said in a written statement.
Since the last survey in 2013, even attitudes among renters have shifted more toward a desire for homeownership, up from 36% to 39% in 2015. Additionally, 61% of renters said that homeownership is a future priority for them.
Attitudes about the housing market have also improved in recent years, with 49% of respondents indicating they feel activity in the market has increased in the year, compared to 44% in 2013 and just 12% in 2011.
In addition to improved attitudes about the housing market, respondents’ optimism also trickled over tot their sentiments regarding the economy. Only 36% said they think that job layoffs and unemployment are a “big problem,” NAR notes, which is down substantially from 45% of respondents who felt this way in 2013.
But even though perceptions toward homeownership, the housing market and economy have improved over the course of the last several years, the obstacles to homeownership have remained mostly unchanged.
A large share of respondents (78%) point to college debt and student loans as the main roadblock standing between them and homeownership. Meanwhile, of all respondents, 76% said that while they do have a full-time job, they still do not make enough money to buy a home; whereas 74% believe they don’t have enough money to afford a down payment and mortgage closing costs.
Bifurcating respondents into younger and older generations, Millennials tended to have a more “upbeat” view about the future of the nation compared to older Americans, with 42% of Millennial saying the country is headed in the “right direction,” whereas only 20% of those aged 50 and older felt similarly.
Written by Jason Oliva