Hey, does anyone want to buy a house?
No? Perhaps not.
Home sales haven't exactly fallen off a cliff at an annualized pace of 5.36 million so far this year, according to the National Association of Realtors. But nor are houses flying off the shelves, or rather, out of the multiple-listing services.
The reasons for not buying a house vary from nonbuyer to nonbuyer, but some intriguing trends can be found in the fourth-quarter Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, which asked 3,004 people a series of questions about housing, homeownership, the economy and their personal finances.
Here are some of the highlights:
- 65 percent of respondents agreed that now is a good time to buy a house.
- 26 percent believe home prices will go up in the next 12 months.
- 52 percent believe home prices will stay the same.
- 19 percent believe prices will go down.
- 39 percent expect rents to go up, on average by 2.8 percent, or $28 per $1,000 of monthly rent.
- 64 percent believe buying a home is a safe investment. (In 2003, that figure was 83 percent.)
- 84 percent believe owning a home makes more sense than renting.
- 28 percent of renters say renting is more sensible.
- 79 percent cite schools and safety as reasons to buy a home.
- 73 percent of delinquent borrowers and 42 percent of renters say their income isn't enough to pay their expenses.
A few comments, courtesy of Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan:
More Americans believe that housing prices will remain stable over the next year. We also are seeing encouraging signs in the positive attitudes toward homeownership among younger Americans, despite the severe impact of the housing crisis on Generation Y. But most respondents to our survey continue to lack confidence in the strength of the economic recovery, and they are less optimistic about their ability to buy a home in the years ahead. This sense of uncertainty is weighing on the housing recovery today and reshaping expectations for housing for the future.
So, what's your opinion?
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