Americans Think Homeownership is a Sound Investment

Americans believe that buying a home is a solid financial decision, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors®. The 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey also found that a preponderance of Americans think that now is a good time to buy a home.

When asked for reasons about why home ownership matters to them, respondents’ answers did not change significantly from past years. Top reasons to own a home include:

  • Building equity
  • wanting a stable and safe environment
  • having the freedom to choose their neighborhood

The survey, which measures consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas, found that

  • 80 percent of Americans believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision
  • 68 percent believe that now is a good time to buy a home
  • 71 percent believe they could sell their house for what they paid for it, a jump of 16 percentage points from 2013.

“Homeownership is part of the American Dream, and this survey proves that dream is alive and thriving in our communities,” said NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark.

The number of renters who are now thinking about purchasing a home has increased since the last survey in 2013, up from 36 percent to 39 percent. Sixty-one percent of renters stated that owning a home is a priority for their future.

Perceived obstacles to homeownership have remained mostly unchanged compared to recent years:

  • 78 percent of respondents point to college debt and student loans as the main obstacle to making a home purchase affordable
  • 76 percent of participants said they have a full-time job but still did not make enough money to purchase a home
  • 74 percent believe they do not have enough money for a down payment and closing costs.

As the market has improved, concern about the cost of housing has increased. Two-thirds of survey participants said that home prices are more expensive than they were a year ago. There is additional concern over the lack of available housing; 41 percent said the lack of affordable homes is either a very big or fairly big problem in their area, an increase of 9 percent points from 2013.

For adult millennials under the age of 35, the burden of student debt is their chief concern, with 86 percent of respondents naming college debt as an obstacle to homeownership. Over half reported that their housing costs are a financial strain on their budget, 65 percent are concerned about high rental prices, and 60 percent are concerned about high home prices.

However, millennials tend to have a more upbeat and positive view about the future of the nation than older Americans, with 42 percent of millennials saying that the country is headed in the right direction compared to only 20 percent among those aged 50 and older.

View the infographic.