October 15, 2010—Nearly
eight out of 10 respondents believe buying a home is a good financial
decision, despite ongoing challenges with the economy and housing
market. That’s according to the 2010 National Housing Pulse Survey, an
annual report released by the National Association of Realtors. 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% 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 real issue facing the nation’s economy right now is that many
Americans can’t find meaningful work to support their families,” said
NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of a real estate company in
Tucson, Ariz. “While a job recovery is what’s needed right now to get
the economy and housing market back on the right track, owning a home
continues to be part of the American Dream and one of the best long-term
investments in your future.”
Despite economic uncertainty, 68% of those surveyed still believe now
is a good time to buy a home; while that number is down from last year
(75%), it’s up from 2008 (66%) and 2007 (59%). Lower home prices and
record-low mortgage interest rates may be attracting buyers to the
housing market—more than one-fourth of renters said they are thinking
more about buying a home than they were a year ago. Sixty-three percent
of renter respondents said that owning a home is a priority in their
future, and nearly 40% said it was one of their highest priorities.
Lower home prices have improved affordability. In fact, the
percentage of renters who are worried that the cost of housing is
getting so unaffordable that they will never be able to buy a home has
decreased steadily since 2007, from 63% to 57%.
Despite improved affordability, 79% of respondents still consider
having enough money for down payment and closing costs to be among the
biggest obstacles to buying a home. Another obstacle is a lack of
confidence in their ability to be approved for a loan, reported by 73%
The good news is that Americans are seeing more stability in the real
estate market. Nearly seven out of 10 believe that home values have
stabilized in their area; the same number expects home sales to remain
about the same through the end of the year.
While more than half (51%) say foreclosures are a problem in their
area, the rate of foreclosures is also seen as stabilizing; 51% say the
rate is about the same as last year. Thirty-six percent of respondents
cite the recession, loss of jobs and the poor economy as the main reason
for the ongoing foreclosure problem. This has also led to a slight
increase in the number of people who believe the federal government
should take a more active role overseeing loans and mortgages (44%, up
from 43% last year).
While nearly seven out of 10 say it’s harder to sell a home in their
area today than it was a year ago, it’s less of a concern from last year
when the number was 10 percentage points higher. This is most likely
the result of lower home inventories.
The 2010 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American
Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing
Opportunity Program. The telephone survey was among 1,209 adults living
in the 25 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. The study has a
margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.