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Survey: Downpayment, Closing Costs Prevent Home Ownership
Jul 13, 2009
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Most Americans still consider having enough money for downpayment and closing costs to be the biggest obstacles to buying a home. That’s according to the 2009 National Housing Pulse Survey, an annual survey by the National Association of Realtors.

The survey, which measures how affordable housing issues affect consumers, also found job security concerns to be the highest in seven years of sampling. Two-thirds of Americans think job layoffs and unemployment are a big problem; eight in 10 cite these issues as a barrier to homeownership.

Despite the challenges with the economy and housing market, 83% of Americans still believe buying a home is a good financial decision. Three-fourths of those surveyed also believe now is a good time to buy a home, a number that has increased steadily the past two years. In fact, one-third of renters are thinking more about buying a home than they were a year ago.

While Americans are seeing more stability in the real estate market, uncertainty persists. The number of those who feel buying and selling activity has stabilized or stayed nearly the same has grown significantly, from 18% last year to 26% this year. However the majority (58 percent) report that activity in their market has slowed.

Regarding home sales, nearly eight in 10 say it’s harder to sell a home in their area today than it was a year ago, despite the fact that nearly three-fourths of respondents say home prices are less expensive. Large home inventories could be to blame; 44% cite concerns about the high number of homes and condos for sale in their area.

Regarding financing, seven in 10 Americans cite a lack of confidence in their ability to be approved for a home loan as an obstacle to homeownership. The same number also say that banks are making it too hard to qualify for a loan (71% ) and that fewer mortgage options offered by banks have made it harder for them to buy a home (71%). The perception of qualifying for a loan as a huge obstacle is especially high among minorities.

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