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President’s Corner Housing survey reveals voter perceptions and supply vs demand

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Kerry Suess

Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 8:52 am, Fri Nov 18, 2011.

Candidate positions on housing will be important considerations to nearly seven of 10 Americans (69.6 percent) in the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, according to a new national survey on housing released by online real estate leader Move, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE). This is especially true for Millennials (70.7 percent), the next generation of homebuyers and the segment expected to play as important a role in the 2012 elections as they did in 2008.

The Millennial Generation, is a term used by demographers to describe a segment of the population born between 1980 and 2000 (approximately). Sometimes referred to in the media as “Generation Y,” millennials are the children of the post-WWII baby boomer generation. There are about 76 million millennials in the United States (based on research using the years 1978-2000). Millennials are the last generation born in the 20th century.

The Move, Inc., survey underscores the depth of national concern over the housing situation and the importance housing will play in next year’s national elections. According to the survey, four out of five (81.7 percent) Americans consider housing to be a critical piece of our national economic recovery. Nearly three quarters of Americans (73.1 percent) believe conditions for buying a home a year from now will be the same or worse than today, while just under a quarter (23.2 percent) expect home buying conditions will be better.

Helping homeowners in trouble avoid foreclosure, an issue tracked in Move, Inc., surveys since October 2008, remains a top housing priority for the next president’s first 100 days in office. In fact, one in three (30.9 percent) Americans today think helping homeowners avoid foreclosure should be the next president’s priority in the first 100 days in office. Keeping interest rates low (26.4 percent) ranked second and making more affordable mortgage credit available (14 percent) placed third.

However, views are mixed when it comes to increasing or decreasing the role of government in housing. The Move, Inc., survey found one in three Americans (31 percent) said the role of government in housing should remain the same as it is today, while one in five (21.3 percent) said it should be increased. Forty-two percent said government’s role in housing should be reduced, especially Americans ages 35 to 64 (56.7 percent). Just over two-thirds (67.4 percent) of Millennials said the president and Congress should reduce or keep the role of government in housing the same.

“After four years of living in a housing downturn, American voters clearly want answers and are looking to our elected leaders for solutions. Our survey found that while some people may be frustrated or pessimistic, 27.3 percent of Americans(2) still plan on buying a home,” said Errol Samuelson, chief revenue officer of Move, Inc. “The survey illustrates candidates who share the concerns of the American people and make housing a top priority will win their confidence.”

While one quarter of all Americans (27.3 percent) plan to buy a home in the future, only two percent plan to purchase in the next 12 months and 23.1 percent say they’ve delayed purchasing a home because of the real estate market in their area. Three factors – uncertainty about future prices, concern about the economy and jobs, and difficulty saving for down payments – are causing buyers to delay their purchases, effectively reducing near-term demand.

Based on survey results, half (55.1 percent) of those planning to buy in two or more years are waiting in part because they lack the money for a down payment or closing costs. Some 52.5 percent said they’re concerned about their jobs or lack confidence in the economy as a whole. Half (53.1 percent) of today’s future buyers said they’re waiting because they expect prices to stabilize or increase. More than one third (34.6 percent) said their inability to get credit or find affordable credit is a reason why they’re waiting to buy a home.

“Perceptions as much as the realities of homeownership are standing in the way of boosting demand for housing,” said Samuelson. “Concerns that the economy will continue to put jobs at risk and that prices won’t rise near term are keeping buyers on the sidelines as much as the difficulty they’re having in getting credit or saving for down payments.

None of us know how this will all play out or how long this economy etc. will last. It very easily could become more difficult to purchase real estate in the future. There are major long term benefits to home ownership. I recommend you consider looking into it for yourself and as a long term investment. Now is a great time to buy. Always consult a Realtor.

Questions or comments can be made to Kerry Suess at larpres2011@yahoo.com.

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