Survey Reveals Why Buyers Are Waiting on Sidelines

November 9, 2011

Twenty-seven percent of Americans say they plan to buy a home in the future (with most saying in two or more years), and only two percent say they plan to purchase a home in the next 12 months, according to a new Move Inc. survey of 1,000 American adults. So why are so many buyers continuing to wait on the sidelines when home affordability is high and interest rates are at or hovering near record lows?

About 23 percent of those surveyed say they are delaying buying a home because they are concerned about the real estate market in their local area, particularly with concerns over the future of home values, the economy and jobs, as well as difficulty in saving for a down payment. 

"Perceptions as much as the realities of home ownership are standing in the way of boosting demand for housing," Errol Samuelson, chief revenue officer of Move Inc., said in a statement. "Concerns that the economy will continue to put jobs at risk and that prices won't rise near term are keeping buyers on the sidelines as much as the difficulty they're having in getting credit or saving for down payments. Until these concerns are resolved, we expect both buyers and sellers to remain on the sidelines."

Nearly 35 percent of those surveyed say their inability to get credit or find affordable credit are the main reasons why they’re putting off purchasing a home. 

The Move survey also found that younger adults—the millennial generation—tends to look at home ownership as a place to be happy, not an investment. But this large segment of first-time home buyers admit they are picky when it comes to finding a home—80 percent say they are picky, in fact. A lot of that pickiness comes from the fact that 75 percent say that their home defines them and is a part of who they are.

The survey also found that younger adults tend to spend more on housing than older adults. For example, the survey revealed that two out of five--or about 40 percent--of millennials say they should spend 30 to 60 percent of their gross monthly income on housing. More than half of older Americans, on the other hand, say they plan to spend less than 30 percent of their gross monthly on housing. 

Lenders often recommend spending 28 percent of annual gross wages on housing, when taking into account principal, interest, and taxes. 

Source: “2012 Presidential Elections: 69.6% of Americans Said Housing Will Influence Their Vote,” Move Inc. (Nov. 8, 2011) 

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