They may have watched the value of their parents’ homes soar then crash. And, chances are, they know someone who is losing their home to foreclosure. Still, the hope of homeownership is alive among people who rent and want to buy, according to a recent survey by PulteGroup.
The home builder’s survey results showed that 60% of renters who say they want to buy a home in the future have increased their intent to buy compared to a year ago. And 61% of that group says they plan to purchase a home within the next two years.
It also indicates that homeownership continues to be as much an emotional desire as a practical one. Nearly half said they wanted to own a home because they would like being able to call themselves homeowners.
At the same time, 44% still said they thought buying a home is a good investment. And then there were the practical respondents, 36%, who said they wanted to own a home for more space. The percentages were similar across the country.
The results mirrored PulteGroup’s on-the-ground anecdotal information. "We are seeing a renewed sense of optimism, especially from young professionals and young families visiting our communities nationwide," Deborah Meyer, PulteGroup senior vice president, said in a news release of the results. "In fact, in the first quarter of this year, sales and traffic for our Centex homes, which cater to the value-conscious and first-time buyer, saw a significant improvement over last year—yet another sign of an improving housing market.”
But the survey, which PulteGroup conducted with Russell Research, also identified deterrents to buying that these want-to-be owners say they face. The first is an age-old problem that pre-dates the housing recession. Just over half, 54%, said they don’t have enough money for the down payment.
A few other perceived barriers to buying a home also showed up in the survey. Just over a fourth thinks that renting is cheaper than buying, and just under a fourth are still worrying about their jobs.
The research company conducted online surveys for two groups, one that focused on current renters only and another completely random sample of people that included both renters and homeowners.
The results were similar in the two groups. In the random survey group, 65% of the renters said they plan to buy a home in the future and, of that 65%, 61% plan to buy in the next two years.
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.