By Nick Kotecki
Americans continue to place a high value on homeownership, but qualifying for a mortgage and saving up for a down payment in an economy that won’t produce jobs keeps many uncertain.
The results of the Hanley Wood’s Housing 360 Survey say 89 percent of owners and 59 percent of renters feel that homeownership is important to the American family while 87 percent of owners and 73 percent of renters feel homeownership is an economic cornerstone.
Indeed, housing, household operations, insurance, fuels and utilities, water, sewage and trash services and furnishings, among other expenditures, account for about 40 percent of the Consumer Price Index, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Approximately one in three renters and about one in five existing homeowners believe now is a good time to buy a home or to plan on buying in the next two years, according to the survey.
The survey was administered to homeowners and renters electronically from a country-wide sample of adults 20 years of age and older in June to early July 2011 resulting in 3,005 completed surveys, including 1,954 homeowners and 1,051 renters.
“We thought people would be soured after watching home values fall but instead we found the typical American still places high value on homeownership,” said Frank Anton, CEO of Hanley Wood a media company and data research outfit serving the housing and construction industries.
“We found this holds across all demographic groups and across the country, even in hard-hit places like Nevada and Arizona where there have been 50 percent or more declines in value. The increase in the rise of rental rates in many markets is one factor driving people to consider buying,” Anton added.
Survey findings indicate as many as two million potential home buying consumers are waiting for the right time to jump into the market.
Respondents said there is no great urgency to buy, due to soft economic conditions. Many are figuring out how to overcome the challenges of stiff underwriting. Despite some home prices being half what they were five years ago, it’s remains a difficult to fork over enough cash for a down payment and still have enough left over to show lenders they are viable home loan candidates.
“There are obstacles in the way of home buying. The over-correction in the mortgage market is a drag on the process. We’ve gone from one extreme to the other and it’s stalling the housing market and therefore the economy,” said Kent W. Colton, president of The Colton Housing Group and senior fellow at Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Read more: Americans Still Hold Home Ownership King | REALTOR.com® Blogs