Despite the continuing challenges facing the U.S., nearly eight out of 10 respondents believe buying a home is a good financial decision, according to NAR’s eighth annual Housing Opportunity Pulse Survey.
The survey, which measures how affordable housing issues affect consumers, also found job security concerns to be the highest in eight years of sampling, with 70 percent of Americans saying that job layoffs and unemployment are a big problem in their area; eight in 10 cite these issues as a barrier to homeownership. The telephone survey of 1,209 urban and suburban adults in the top 25 metropolitan statistical areas was conducted for NAR by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program.
Some key results:
* Americans continue to believe that buying a home is a good financial decision (77 percent believe strongly or not so strongly, 68 percent strongly so).
* More than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) say that now is a good time to buy a home.
* Job insecurity and the lack of jobs continue to be the primary obstacle to home ownership and market recovery.
* Respondents see the recession and job losses as the main reasons for the foreclosure problem, a shift from last year when they were more likely to blame homeowners who bought homes they could not afford.
* A majority of renters say that owning a home at some point in the future is either one of their highest priorities (39 percent) or a moderate priority (24 percent). Just 21 percent of renters say that owning a home is not a priority at all.
* Frustration with banks is up: now a majority worry that banks have made it too hard to qualify for a home mortgage loan.
* 51 percent of respondents say foreclosures remain a big or moderate problem in their area. While there has been a significant drop in the percentage of those surveyed who say foreclosures have increased, 51 percent say that the rate of foreclosures is about the same as it was last year.
* Most of those surveyed say that it is harder to sell a home in their neighborhood than it was a year ago.
* Looking forward, 70 percent expect real estate sales in their neighborhood to remain about the same over the next few months. A nearly identical number (69 percent), also expect home values to remain the same.
* Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) are now very concerned about the number of homes and condos for sale in their area—a number that is up 7 points from last year.
* Most respondents are more concerned about the drop in home values than they are about home costs being too high. Still, cost remains the significant barrier to many who would otherwise like to buy a home