Eighty four percent of Americans see homeownership as a good investment, according to new research from the National Association of Realtors. That’s the highest number since 2007. However, many feel that this investment is falling out of reach.
The NAR found that concerns over housing affordability show clear demographic divides especially among unmarried and non-white Americans.
More than five out of 10 unmarried and non-white Americans view the lack of available affordable housing as a big problem, compared to only 40 percent of married and white Americans.
The survey, https://www.nar.realtor/reports/housing-pulse-surveys, measures consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation’s 25 largest metropolitan statistical areas.
Housing affordability was ranked fourth in the top-five issues Americans face in their area behind the lack of affordable health care; low wages and debt making it hard to save; and heroin and opioid drug abuse, and ahead of job layoffs and employment.
Nationally, 44 percent of respondents categorized the lack of available affordable housing as a very big or fairly big problem.
In the top 25 densest markets, more than half see the lack of affordable housing as a big problem, an increase of 11 percentage points from the 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey.
Low-income Americans, renters and young women most acutely feel the housing pinch. There is also greater concern about affordable housing among the working class (65 percent) than for public servants such as teachers, firefighters or police (55 percent).
When asked about the amount of down payment needed for a mortgage, four in 10 respondents believe that a down payment of 15 percent or more is necessary.
Seventy percent feel that a reasonable down payment should be 10 percent or less, according to the survey. Misconceptions about higher down payment requirements were most prevalent in bigger cities and by older adults.
Apparent confusion about down payment requirements most likely added to non-owners concerns about affordability.
NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that the median down payment for first-time buyers has been 6 percent for three straight years and 14 percent for repeat buyers in three of the past four years.