Survey says: renters still want to own a home.
Owning a home is still an American dream, despite many houses being underwater. As a reminder, this means that owners owe more money on the house than the appraised value. Some industry experts estimate that 25% to 30% of total homes owned in the U.S. have an appraised value below the mortgage amount due.
So, should households put good money after bad and get a piece of the American dream? According to the 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 72% of renters surveyed said that owning a home was a top priority for their future, up from 63% in 2010. The NAR survey reported that seven in ten households also agreed that buying a home is a good financial decision, while almost two-thirds said now is a good time to purchase a home.
However, the survey also highlighted that 77% of respondents would be less likely to buy a home if they were required to put down 20% as a down payment, and 71% felt that a 20% down payment requirement could have a negative impact on the housing market. All said, I think that many single-family homes are desirable for families, as they can offer a good school system, a safe neighborhood, and proximity to mass transportation or downtown markets. Unfortunately, with steep down payments required to qualify for a new mortgage, many of those households are left with higher rental rates as leases expire on existing apartments or rental houses.