WASHINGTON (October 14, 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 today 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 respondents cite these issues as a barrier to home ownership.

“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 Vicki L. Cox & Associates 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% believe now is a good time to buy a home,
  • 63% of renters say owning a home is a priority in their future, and
  • Nearly 40% of renter says it’s one of their highest priorities.

Home affordability on the rise

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% consider having enough money for down payment and closing costs is among the biggest obstacles to buying a home and
  • 73% lack confidence they can get a home loan.

Housing markets stabilizing

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.

Still:                                                                                       

  • 51% say foreclosures are a problem in their area,
  • 51% say the foreclosure rate is about the same as last year,
  • 36% blame the recession, loss of jobs and the poor economy  for ongoing foreclosure problems, and
  • 44% believe the federal government should take a more active role overseeing loans and mortgages.

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.

NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program helps increase housing opportunities by making affordable housing more readily available.

Source: NAR