NAR Survey Finds American Dream Depends on Affordability

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Homeownership as an American dream is alive
and well according to new data from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR)
2018 Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey.  The survey was conducted across all 12 months of
last year.  Sixty-four percent of
respondents were homeowners, 27 percent were renters, and 9 percent were
non-homeowners living with a family member without paying rent. 

NAR
just released Aspiring Home Buyers
Profile
, which focuses on survey responses from non-homebuyers, both those
who rent and those living with a family member. Of the non-owners, 45 percent
were 34 years or under, 59 percent make an income of under $50,000, and 43
percent live in suburban areas.  Across the
quarters of 2018 non-homeowners were consistent in their desire to own a home
in the future, with about three-quarters saying it was part of their American
Dream. Nine out of ten homeowners gave that same response.

However,
over the course of the year, non-owners’ perception of whether it was currently a
good time to buy
that home decreased from 51 percent in the first quarter to 47
percent in the fourth.  Over the same
period homeowner perceptions dropped only 1 point to 72 percent.  There was little variation among non-owners by
age groups, income, or city size. The single exception was in the West where
the perception it was a good time to buy was lower than in all other regions.

 

 

Non-homeowners said their chief
reason why they do not own a home is their inability to afford a mortgage.  The second biggest reason was that current
life circumstances mitigate against it, while a smaller number said they need
the flexibility of renting.

 

 

When asked
what might provide the trigger for buying a home in the future, 28 to 31
percent of non-owners each quarter said an improvement in their financial
situation
would be the top reason that would encourage them to buy a home in
the future. In each quarter, 26 to 30 percent of non-owners said a change in
lifestyle – such as getting married, starting a family or retiring – would be the primary reason they would make a
future home purchase.

 

 

Both
homeowners and non-owners were asked about adult family or friends moving into
their homes
, the span of time this individual(s) lived within the household,
and if they thought about moving to a new home because of the change.  Eleven percent of homeowners and 14 percent
of non-owners said they had an adult, usually an adult child, move into with
them.  Of those, 44 percent said that the
individual intended to stay for over one year or permanently. Eighty-eight
percent of those surveyed who had someone move into their home reported that
their living situation remained acceptable and therefore did not warrant
consideration of moving into a different home. Twelve percent said they did
consider moving or ultimately did move due to their home situation changing.

Lawrence
Yun, NAR chief economist, says unaffordable housing has caused a number of
potential buyers to hold off on purchasing a new home. “The lack of affordable
and moderately priced homes has forced non-homeowners to delay achieving that
part of the American Dream. However, as the survey confirms, significant
lifestyle changes like marriage or starting a family often spur non-owners to
pursue home-ownership.”

“While
home sales were slightly down in 2018, there is still a sizable pent-up housing
demand
. Economic growth, interest rates, and the supply of moderately
priced-homes will dictate how well the real estate industry will do this year,”
said Yun.”

NAR’s survey was conducted by random dial telephone
surveys each month in 2018.  An average
of 680 interviews were conducted each month.

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