Top reasons Americans say they want to own a home: The opportunity to build equity, the desire for a stable and safe environment, and the freedom to choose their neighborhood. That’s according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey, a poll of 1,000 adults nationwide in the 50 largest metro areas.
More than eight in 10 Americans say that purchasing a home is a good financial decision, and 68 percent say now is a good time to buy a home, according to the survey. What’s more, 71 percent of those surveyed also believe they could sell their house for what they paid for it –up 16 percentage points from 2013.
“Home ownership is part of the American Dream, and this survey proves that dream is alive and thriving in our communities,” says NAR President Chris Polychron.
Source: National Association of REALTORS®
Rising student loan debt continues to take blame for curtailing the number of young Americans from home ownership, but lenders and real estate professionals say it doesn’t have to necessarily be a deal killer in qualifying for a mortgage.
Home ownership is possible for buyers saddled with student loan debt, says John Wheaton, Redfin Open Book lender. “Many young people with student loans delay buying a home because they don’t think they can’t qualify for a mortgage,” Wheaton says. “Yet, many of them actually can. Underwriters generally treat student debt in a more positive light than credit card or auto loan debt.”
For example, Wheaton says that a person with $45,000 in student loans and a FICO score of 741 with an income of about $75,000 per year would likely qualify for a property starting at around $375,000 with a 5 percent down payment.
The National Association of REALTORS® recently reported that the share of existing home purchases by first-time home buyers has fallen to 26 percent of sales. Last year, the percentage stood at 30 percent.
Source: “Higher Education or a House: Can Young Americans Have Both?” Redfin Research Center (Feb. 24, 2014)
This economy hasn’t taken away the desire to own a home!
People still want a place of their own to raise their families, share with friends and a place to feel safe and secure. Over 50% of the current buyers are first-time buyers. For people with a down payment and good credit, this may be the best time ever to buy a home.
This economy hasn’t eliminated the need or aspiration for a larger or newer or older or different home. People’s situations change and their housing needs change also. They may just not feel the urgency because they already own a home even if it doesn’t fit their current needs.
The role of today’s real estate professional has changed. It isn’t enough to be an order taker. It’s now about providing service way beyond what the buyer and seller expect. It’s not just finding the “right” home; it’s about showing them the way to minimize the cost of housing by negotiating the price and terms. It’s about recommending alternative financing and giving them options. It’s all about helping them to make better decisions. It will take information and tools. It will take knowledge and training. But more important, it will take commitment and investment. Today’s professional must be committed to doing more than the minimum necessary.