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Survey: More Renters Want to Become Homeowners

renters-want-become-homeowners_2f1784d72f5bf2fb1499b84366e930e3_1_3x2_jpg_600x400_q85Homeownership as a priority is on the upswing. And a look back shows perceptions  about owning weren’t as negative during the recession as the media suggested.

Americans have favored buying over renting, even during the recent Great  Recession, and this year is no different. The 2013 National Housing Pulse  Survey, by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, found Americans overwhelmingly  believe owning a home is a good financial decision, and a majority of renters  say homeownership is one of their highest priorities for the  future.
During the recession, much media coverage of homeownership  focused on the idea that lots of people thought renting was much smarter than  buying. But that wasn’t necessarily the case as a look back shows.

The  decline in home prices and turmoil in the housing markets did influence  consumers’ perception of housing as a sound investment — but not by nearly as  much as the media made it appear.

From 2007 to 2011, based on earlier  Pulse surveys, the share of people who thought buying a home was a good  financial decision dropped from about 85% to 73% and the share of people who  were “not so strongly” positive grew. By 2013, we’re back to 80% thinking  homeownership is a sound financial decision.

You can interpret that dip  two ways. Some would say homeowners were resilient as prices declined. Others  would say the recession was a wake up call for investors who viewed the real  estate market as a short-term investment.

Regardless of which way you  see it, most of us have returned to the much more realistic viewpoint that real  estate is a solid, if long-term, investment.
This year’s Home Pulse  survey also found:

  • Eight in 10 Americans think buying a home is a good financial decision.
  • 68% believe now is a good time to buy a home.
  • 36% of renters are now thinking about purchasing a home, up from 25% last  year.
  • The proportion of renters who say they prefer to rent dropped from 31% to  25%.
  • Half of renters say that eventually owning a home is one of their highest  personal priorities, up to 51% from 42%.

Those renters should be in a good position to buy given that home prices are  pretty affordable (unless you’re a bus driver in San Francisco). Rising interest  rates could come into play, but anything around 6% looks good compared with the  double-digit interest rates of the  1980s.

Attitudes toward the housing market have also improved over the years.  Nearly four in 10 Americans (38%) said their local market was more active this  year, compared with 51% of people who reported a slowdown in local activity last  year.
There is also less concern than in the past about the drop in home  values; almost half (49%) said housing prices in their area are more expensive  than a year ago.

By: Dona DeZube | HouseLogic

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