House to House: Homeownership seen as good investment, affordability a problem

The final installment in Allison Moore’s three-part series about preparing a home to sell will appear in the Sept. 3 edition of Homes Arkansas.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey, 84 percent of Americans believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision, the highest number in 10 years. Yet six in 10 said that they are concerned about affordability and the rising cost of buying a home or renting in their area. The survey measures consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation’s 25 largest metropolitan statistical areas.

“This survey makes it clear that most Americans still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home of their own. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top reasons to own a home,” said Maurice Taylor, 2017 president of the Arkansas Realtors Association. “Yet Americans consider the lack of affordability as a big obstacle to ownership.”

Concerns over housing affordability show clear demographic divides, especially among unmarried and nonwhite Americans. According to the survey, more than 50 percent of unmarried and nonwhite Americans view the lack of available affordable housing as a big problem, compared to only four in 10 of married and white Americans.

Nationally, 44 percent of respondents categorized the lack of available affordable housing as a very big or big problem. In the top 25 densest markets, more than half of those surveyed said they see the lack of affordable housing as a big problem, an increase of 11 percentage points since 2015.

The Arkansas Realtors Association states that lower-income Americans, renters and young women most acutely feel the housing pinch.

There is also greater concern about affordable housing among the working class (65 percent) than among public servants, such as teachers, firefighters or police
(55 percent).

The survey found that more than half of respondents strongly agree that homeownership helps build safe and secure neighborhoods and provides a stable and safe environment for children and family members.

“There are many benefits of homeownership, and they resonate more strongly as age increases,” Taylor said. “Over half of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 believe that home ownership is associated with a stable home environment, which also leads to greater educational success for children.

“It’s important that younger Americans also have access to affordable and sustainable homeownership,” he said.

House to House is distributed by the Arkansas Realtors Association. For more information about homeownership in Arkansas, visit www.arkansasrealtors.com.