Prioritizing the purchase

If you don’t currently own a home, odds are owning one in the future is one of your top financial priorities.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey, 72 percent of renters said owning is a top priority for their future, up from 63 percent in 2010. The annual survey measures how affordable-housing issues affect consumers; the 2011 survey polled of 1,250 U.S. adults.

While nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed say now is a good time to buy a home, more than three-quarters (77 percent) of renters said they would be less likely to buy a home if they were required to put down a 20-percent down payment on the home. The 20-percent requirement would have been an impediment to many who currently own their home, too. More than half (51 percent) of self-described “working class” owners and younger non-college grads (also 51 percent), African Americans (57 percent), and Hispanics (50 percent) say a 20-percent required down payment would have prevented them from buying.

Being able to afford a down payment and closing costs have consistently been cited in Pulse surveys over the past eight years as top obstacles to owning; 82 percent of respondents cited these as the top obstacle, followed by having confidence in one’s job security. Still, seven in 10 Americans agreed that buying a home is a good financial decision.

Regarding the mortgage-interest deduction – one of the most well-known perks of ownership – two-thirds of Americans oppose eliminating the tax benefit, and 73 percent eliminating it would have a negative impact on the housing market, in addition to the overall economy.


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