Nearly 80 percent of Americans don’t expect to buy a home in the next five years, but more than half of those that do plan to buy this year would be first-time homebuyers.

That’s according to a survey commissioned by Realtor.com operator Move Inc., which also found one in five homeowners with mortgages have contacted their lender hoping to restructure their loans. About half said they’d succeeded.

Nearly 80 percent of Americans don’t expect to buy a home in the next five years, but more than half of those that do plan to buy this year would be first-time homebuyers.

That’s according to a survey commissioned by Realtor.com operator Move Inc., which also found one in five homeowners with mortgages have contacted their lender hoping to restructure their loans. About half said they’d succeeded.

A crackdown on mortgage fraud, lower interest rates, and tax breaks for first-time homebuyers were seen as the three most important factors to stabilizing housing markets among 1,005 adults surveyed by OmniTel on behalf of Move from March 6-8.

Although 23 percent said they planned to buy a home in the next five years, only 5.8 percent said they expected to complete that purchase within the next 12 months. About 7 percent said they planned to purchase a home in one to two years, and 11 percent planned to purchase within two to five years.

More than half of those planning to buy in the next 12 months would be first-time homebuyers (53.5 percent), which compares to the 41 percent market share actually taken by first-time homebuyers in 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors.

"It’s not all doom and gloom. We found Americans are optimistic about homeownership despite concerns," said Move Inc. CEO Steve Berkowitz in a press release detailing the survey results. Move said the survey demonstrates the housing downturn "has created significant demand for homeownership especially among first-time homebuyers." …CONTINUED

 

NAR reported Monday that sales of existing homes rose 5.1 percent from January to February, with distressed sales accounting for 40 to 45 percent of transactions (see story).

Nearly half of those classified as first-time homebuyers said they had not heard of the $8,000 tax credit available through the end of November, and 29.3 percent said it wasn’t large enough to motivate them to buy. Another 18.1 percent of first-time homebuyers said they planned to take advantage of the credit by purchasing a home this year.

The law creating the tax credit defines first-time homebuyers as those who have not owned a primary residence in the last three years. Only families with income of $150,000 or less or individuals making $75,000 or less are eligible to claim the full credit, which can be claimed on 2008 or 2009 tax returns (see story).

If they are able to purchase more home for their dollar, those surveyed favored more space by a slight margin (10 percent) over a list of other options including energy-saving features (6.8 percent), a bigger yard (6.1 percent), better location (4.2 percent) or updated amenities (3.4 percent).

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