WASHINGTON â€“ March 27, 2012 â€“ Fannie Maeâ€™s
latest quarterly National Housing Survey focuses on the homeownership
aspirations of Americans. Despite the recent housing crisis, most
Americans continue to believe that homeownership is better than renting.
And while Fannie Maeâ€™s data finds that financial constraints and
employment concerns may be keeping potential homebuyers on the
sidelines, that could change. As employment picks up and the economy
grows stronger, stabilizing home prices may entice Americans to buy a
home in coming years.
â€¢ Across all education levels, Americans say owning makes more sense
than renting. This belief is held consistently across all demographic
â€¢ Nearly two-thirds of current renters say that they will buy a house at some point in the future.
â€¢ Non-financial factors, such as safety and quality of local schools,
continue to be the top reasons for buying a home across all income
â€¢ African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to cite various
benefits to homeownership, such as buying a home as a way to build
wealth, as a symbol of success and civic benefits.
â€œIn spite of the impact of the housing crisis on home values and
homeownership rates across the country, Americans by and large still
hope to become homeowners,â€ says Doug Duncan, vice president and chief
economist of Fannie Mae. â€œA point of concern for the industry is that
some consumers find the mortgage shopping process difficult to navigate.
If potential homeowners avoid the process because they believe it to be
too complex, we will likely see a continued impact on homeownership
Overall, certain groups (renters, those with lower levels of education,
people with lower incomes, African-Americans and Hispanics) cite
potential difficulties in getting a mortgage. Renters today are most
likely to cite poor credit, complexity of the loan process and bad
economic times as major reasons not to buy a home.
â€¢ Renters are consistently more likely than mortgage borrowers to think
it would be difficult for them to get a home, and say financial reasons
are the major reason they have not bought a home.
â€¢ African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to indicate that
getting a mortgage is difficult, regardless of income level. Theyâ€™re
also more likely to cite bad economic times and the complexity of the
mortgage process as major reasons not to buy a home.
â€¢ Groups with lower levels of education are more likely to say it would
be difficult for them to get a mortgage than groups with higher levels
â€¢ Hispanics are less confident than other groups about receiving information they need to choose the right mortgage.
Moreover, attitudes about homeownership as an investment, financial
constraints and mortgage accessibility may mean that more Americans
choose not to act on their aspiration for homeownership, thus
potentially leading to lower homeownership rates.
Homeownership as an investment
â€¢ The margin of Americans believing homeownership has the highest investment potential has declined over the past several years.
â€¢ At the same time, the perceived safety of owning a home as an
investment has trended downward, reaching a low of 63 percent in the
fourth quarter of 2011.
â€¢ In turn, groups with higher levels of education and higher incomes are
more likely to think buying a home is a safe investment.