Renters want to be owners, surveys find — is affordability the blockade?

  • A new Bankrate survey suggests consumers are more bullish than sales justify. Similar research by NAR and Fannie Mae confirm that the dream of homeownership remains alive and well among Americans in general and non-owners in particular.
  • Over the past year, however, research finds that fewer are planning to buy this year than last year.
  • Rising prices, rising mortgage rates, incomes that aren’t keeping up with prices and student debt are all reasons that non-owners said are keeping them from buying. Affordability in general is dampening near-term demand.
  • Buyer uncertainty may be fueling conservative sales projections for 2017.

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“If wishes were horses, even beggars would ride,” goes the old English nursery rhyme. Is that what’s going on today when surveys seem to indicate a powerful desire among renters to become homeowners, yet sales are starting to flatten out? Are hundreds of thousands of potential buyers delaying their homeownership dreams -- or canceling them altogether -- because they can’t find an affordable home to buy or they can’t meet today’s tight lending standards? Or, as anyone who voted in last fall’s elections knows firsthand, are public opinion surveys seriously flawed when it comes to anticipating consumer behavior? Bankrate: 15 percent of renters plan to buy The February Money Pulse survey from Bankrate found that Americans may be feeling a bit confident about buying a home. The survey found 15 percent of adults plan to buy this year. Among the most confident were older millennials and Gen Xers -- 20 percent of both age groups indicate they are very or somewhat ...