Study: Desire for Home Ownership Unswayed

August 3, 2012

Eighty-five percent of Americans say they prefer home ownership over renting, according to a newly released Fannie Mae national housing survey of more than 12,000 interviews from 2011. The study finds that the housing and financial crisis has not been a big factor in Americans’ decisions to rent or buy. 

"The nonfinancial benefits that people derive from the consumption of housing mitigate the negative financial experiences that many home owners have had," says Steve Deggendorf, one of the authors of the study.

Instead, “for a large number of people, emotions rule. We need to think about how they approach the housing decision and think about the kind of help that they may need [in the process].”

The researchers note that it’s important to help Americans take a more conscious approach in their home-buying decisions, assisting them to better balance their “wants” in a home with what they can actually afford. The researchers add that buyers' emotions often lead them to ignore their practical ability to buy a home at all. 

"Our study shows that the negative housing events of the past few years have not discouraged people from wanting to own a home," according to the study. "Exposure to mortgage default, perceived home value appreciation/depreciation, and self-reported underwater status are not significant factors in the models in predicting individuals’ intentions to own a home for their next move."

Instead, 33 percent of current renters say demographics like employment, age, income and marital status are important drivers for them on whether they will continue to rent or purchase a home. Only 25 percent of those surveyed cited financial attitudes as having an impact on their next housing decision. 

Source: “People Still Want to Buy Homes: Fannie Mae,” HousingWire (Aug. 2, 2012)