Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Housing bust? So what? We still want to own

By Les Christie, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The American Dream is still alive and kicking, including within immigrant and minority communities, according to a survey from mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

The housing crisis hasn't quenched the homeownership thirst, the company found. More than 51% of people said the bust did not change their willingness to buy a home and an additional 27% said it actually made them more likely to do so.

"The crisis has not put a dent in the desire to own," said Doug Duncan, Fannie's chief economist, "although it may have changed the reasons that people want to own."

The report, the first close analysis Fannie has taken of consumer attitudes about the rent-or-own decision, found that qualitative reasons -- like having the ability to remodel or to send the kids to a better school -- have overtaken financial considerations as the primary motivators for homeownership.

Some misperceptions about financial benefits may help to keep it high.

"People's attitudes don't always line up with empirical facts," said Duncan.

For example, although trillions of dollars of equity were wiped out by the housing bust and millions of people will lose homes to foreclosure, nearly two-thirds of people surveyed still believe purchasing a house is a safe investment. That could be viewed as a major disconnect.

Also, more than half the public thought buying a home was a good idea financially even if they plan to move out in less than three years. That's actually rarely true because transactional costs like real estate commissions, title insurance costs and mortgage fees take a big cut off the top of selling and purchase prices.

Furthermore, a huge majority, 86% of those surveyed, cite income-tax benefits -- mostly the mortgage interest deduction -- as a big reason to buy. That benefit, however, is very small for most homeowners or even nonexistent.

"Lower-income homeowners, for example, don't itemize," said Duncan, "so there is no tax benefit for them at all."

Broad homeownership hopes

Fannie found that no matter what their ethnicity or immigration status, Americans generally share similar positive attitudes toward homeownership, even though there are substantial differences among these groups in homeownership rates.

It seems that economic opportunities, not attitudes, account for much of the variation.

Only 44% of African Americans own homes, for instance, compared with 71% of whites, but that disparity starts to vanish among families in stronger financial circumstances. African Americans' homeownership rises to 60% for those earning between $50,000 and $99,000, for example.

The survey findings have implications for Fannie's business model. Non-Hispanic whites are projected to account for just 46% of the population by 2050. Immigration will account for most of the population growth between now and then.

And since, as the report stated, "strong homeownership aspirations exist across races, ethnicities and immigrant groups," Fannie can count on future demand for owner-occupied homes remaining strong, as long as the economy cooperates. To top of page


Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.85%3.86%
15 yr fixed2.97%2.94%
5/1 ARM3.15%3.08%
30 yr refi3.96%3.97%
15 yr refi3.07%3.04%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
  • Find Homes for sale
    Real estate and homes for sale on Trulia

  • Property Type
  • Find a home in: New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
  • Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,058.35 -469.68 -2.84%
Nasdaq 4,636.11 -140.40 -2.94%
S&P 500 1,913.85 -58.33 -2.96%
Treasuries 2.17 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 5:11am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.53 0.05 0.32%
Apple Inc 107.72 -5.04 -4.47%
General Electric Co 23.88 -0.94 -3.79%
Ford Motor Co 13.72 -0.15 -1.08%
Microsoft Corp 41.82 -1.70 -3.91%
Data as of Sep 1

Sections

McDonald's has been testing an all-day breakfast menu in several markets for months. Now it has said when the change will go nationwide: October 6. More

Iran could be pumping more than four million barrels of oil a day by the end of 2016, the country's oil minister tells CNN in an exclusive interview. More

The Moto X Pure Edition is not just the best giant Android smartphone or the best Android phone for the money. It is the best Android phone ... period. More

How do you run a successful crowdfunding campaign? Indiegogo's CEO Slava Rubin offers his top tips and mistakes to avoid. More

Here's what you need to earn to afford a home in the 27 biggest metro areas in the country, according to HSH.com. More