WASHINGTON, March 1
— Americans remain strongly committed to federal support for home buyers, according to a recent survey of U.S. households. Roughly 68 percent of those polled said the government should continue to support housing, and 65 percent believe the government should be doing more to keep families from losing their homes to foreclosure.
The poll included both home owners and renters and was conducted for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) by RT Strategies, a non-partisan public opinion polling firm based in Washington, D.C. RT Strategies interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults nationwide by telephone using live interviewers on January 29-31, 2010. The sample included 170 interviews with respondents from cell-phone-only households.
Among those polled, some key groups said the government should continue to play a vital role in maintaining a healthy housing market. For example, 78 percent of all potential home buyers, including 81 percent of renters intending to buy a home in the near future, said the government should continue to support housing.
Roughly 65 percent of home owners said the government also needs to do more to keep families from losing their homes. Support for more foreclosure protection was not confined merely to current home owners. Among renters, 84 percent said the government needs to do more to helped strapped borrowers. This issue is particularly important to women, with 71 percent supporting greater foreclosure protection, compared to 58 percent of men.
Keeping families in their homes is also particularly important to first-time home buyers, as 78 percent of young adults under age 30 support greater foreclosure protection. And 69 percent of adults who are 30 to 44, the prime age range for move-up buyers, said they support more foreclosure protection.
Overall, roughly two-in-three respondents said they own their home. Among renters, about two-in-three intend to buy a home in the near future. In addition, 15 percent of current home owners intend to buy a home in the near future.
The poll asked respondents for their views regarding the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 that extended a tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence. The legislation, which was signed into law by President Obama in November 2009, also authorized a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified repeat home buyers.
Overall, 8 percent of those surveyed said they intend to take advantage of that credit, while another 24 percent who might have been interested in using the tax credit said they cannot afford to purchase a home at this time. Of the 33 percent of respondents who said they are planning to buy a home (both renters and current home owners), roughly 17 percent said they intend to use the tax credit.
Financial concerns continue to be the greatest barrier to growth in the housing market. Among renters nationwide who aspire to own their own home, 39 percent simply don't have the money to buy a home at this time, and another 20 percent said the primary obstacle is that they feel they cannot qualify for a loan. Larger economic issues also play a role, as 18 percent said that job security is the greatest obstacle they face in trying to buy a home.
Weakness in the housing market itself may be blocking some home owners who would like to buy a new home, as 29 percent of current home owners said their greatest obstacle to purchasing another home is their inability to sell their current home. Beyond that, among current home owners who aspire to buy a new home, 7 percent feel trapped by a mortgage that exceeds the value of their current home, 14 percent fear that the value of a new home might fall after they make the investment, and 13 percent say home prices are just too high to allow them to buy a new home at this time.
Even amid a housing market downturn, 40 percent of respondents said their home is their most valuable investment, twice the number who cite any other single investment – 401k accounts, savings accounts and CDs, stocks and bonds, or mutual funds – as their leading family investment.
ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders
is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 175,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. Known as "the voice of the housing industry," NAHB is affiliated with 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB's builder members will construct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected for 2010.