Dream of homeownership alive and well

2013-04-28T02:30:00Z Dream of homeownership alive and wellMichelle Krueger Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 28, 2013 2:30 am  • 

Most people in the US want to continue to own or plan on buying a house, according to Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey conducted earlier this month.

Overall, the results show 62 percent of the American population currently owns a home, 34 percent rent and the remainder have other arrangements. The combined number of folks who either own a home now and express a desire to continue to do so or don’t own now and express a desire to buy should bolster the number of homeowners in the foreseeable future.

While most Americans who own a home, plan to continue to do so (56 percent), those who currently don't own, plan on buying in the next 10 years (25 percent). With 81 percent of Americans favoring home ownership, 11 percent who don't own a home now have no plans to buy and 3 percent who do own a home now plan on becoming renters in the next 10 years.

More specifically, nearly seven in 10 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 who don't currently own a home, plan to make a purchase within the next 10 years. Less than 10 percent of respondents in that age group said they have no plans to buy a home in the future.

Among older generations, the vast majority plan to stay put as homeowners with 58 percent of current homeowners between the ages of 30 and 49, 71 percent of Americans 50 to 64, and 69 percent of those older than 65 saying they plan to continuing owning a home for the foreseeable future.

“These results certainly suggest that the ‘American Dream’ of owning a home is still very much alive, and that the real estate industry should expect a continuing demand for homeownership in the years ahead,” Gallup states in their report.

While spring is typically the busiest time for real estate transactions - more homes sell between March and July than any other time of the year – the market started out strong this year. With more buyers out there looking, the number of available homes in some areas and/or at some price points is plummeting, causing a flurry of activity in real estate markets across the country.

Real estate professionals throughout Northwest Indiana have been busier than they’ve been in several years, since the market started changing last year. I’ve been hearing things like, “I needed to start using a calendar again,” “As soon as my listings hit the market we are scheduling showings, and the properties that are priced right sell right away,” “Buyers are learning the hard way that properties are moving quickly,” and “We’re seeing multiple offers drive up prices for the first time in a very long time.”

The latest statistics from the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® (GNIAR) show March 2013 marked the 21st consecutive month of growth in year over year comparisons. Capturing data from Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton counties, GNIAR reports the number of units sold in March 2013 was up 23.3 percent to 741 from 601 in March 2012. The median selling price edged up slightly at .4 percent.

It’s not surprising that there’s a great deal of pent up demand in the housing market right now. Some people have been sitting on the fence for quite some time waiting to make their move, while others realize what a unique opportunity it is to become a homeowner right now.

In reality, the aftermath of the financial crisis and housing bust – with affordable home prices (just compare today’s prices with the boom or even pre-boom days), rising rents and historically low interest rates – is putting homeownership within reach for many people.

As selling prices edge up, inventory of all kinds – new or existing – is expected to increase.

We’re definitely seeing local builders ramp up their activity, and it’s logical to anticipate that more homeowners will list their properties in the months to come (many economists believe consistently rising prices will encourage more homeowners to list their properties), there should be an overall boost in inventory for what’s projected to be a growing pool of prospective buyers throughout the spring and summer months.

Until that happens, it's most definitely a seller's market in many instances right now. There are plenty of eager buyers out there and not enough homes for all of them to purchase.

To submit real estate news, community connections and special event/model information e-mail krueger.dm@sbcglobal.net.

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