Americans Still Favor Homeownership

By Mike Colpitts

In a major effort to tilt the scales of Congress in their favor, the National Association of Homebuilders commissioned a study to show Time Magazine Cover Americans are still wildly in favor of homeownership, despite the inherent risks it poses.

Results of the survey, which polled 2,000 voters found that three out of four still favor homeownership even after watching trillions of dollars in homeowner equity be wiped out in the real estate crash, and massive swings in home values. Only 23% disagreed.

The survey is one of the largest housing polls undertaken, designed to gauge the publics’ attitude towards home ownership.

The homebuilders group commissioned the survey in efforts to push back against press reports and a litany of other polls that show homeowners are worried about the value of their homes as a result of falling home prices in the majority of the U.S. Respondents still consider owning a home to be a solid financial investment. The survey examines attitudes on homeownership among current homeowners, including those who currently owe more than their homes are worth and renters.

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“The data speaks clearly for itself,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen. “Americans believe that homeownership is worth it despite the risk.”

The home builder group has good reason to commission a major housing study. Regulators are working on a new framework for mortgage financing that is likely to toughen mortgage lending, and leave banks on the hook for losses should they make loans they should not have. Mortgage rates could also be increased if fewer lenders decide to take the risks associated with the new regulations.

Sentiment over homeownership is nearly as strong with homeowners as renters. Even among those who are in negative equity territory, most believe strongly in homeownership. Sixty-five percent polled said that owning a home is still the best long term investment that can be made, despite the risks in the current troubled economy.