Survey: First-Time Home Buyers Optimistic About Market

Twenty-three percent of adults plan to purchase a home in the next five years, and more than half of them (53.5%) are first-time home buyers, according to a survey commissioned by Move Inc., the operator of National Association of Realtors' Web site.

The Move survey also found nearly one out of five homeowners (18.9%) plan to take advantage of the Obama administration's new foreclosure prevention program. The company says that 21% of all homeowners with a mortgage contacted a lender to restructure their loan in the last 12 months. Of that 21%, about half of those homeowners who contacted their lender experienced success, while 5% still await an answer, Move adds.

Unemployment is a driving factor in many Americans' fear of foreclosure, according to the survey. More than a quarter of adults believe either they or someone they know may default on their mortgage due to recent unemployment or future unemployment. More than 15% are having a hard time making mortgage payments because of recently increased debt, and 18.8% are having difficulties making payments because they have too much debt.

Determined to remain in their homes, nearly three-quarters (72%) of adults reduced spending in the past year in order to make monthly mortgage or rent payments, Move says.

Despite today's challenging market conditions, 18.1% of adults plan to buy a home this year in order to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit recently passed by Congress in the administration's economic stimulus package.

‘It's not all doom and gloom. We found Americans are optimistic about homeownership, despite concerns,’ says Move's CEO, Steve Berkowitz. ‘They're doing everything they can, from reducing discretionary spending to pay their mortgages, to planning to take advantage of the administration's new program to stop foreclosures."

The Move survey also found that the housing downturn, now entering its third year, has created significant demand for homeownership, especially among first-time home buyers. While 5.8% plan to purchase a home in the next 12 months, 12.8% of Americans say they plan to buy a home in the next two years, and 11% plan to purchase a home in two to five years.

Over half of those planning to buy in 2009 are first-time home buyers (53.5%). By comparison, 41% of home buyers in 2008 were first-time home buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors.

While 18.1% of home buyers do plan to buy this year to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit, nearly half (47.6%) said they did not know about the credit, and 29.3% said it wasn't large enough for them to act right now. Potential home buyers with higher incomes are more interested in the tax credit than those in lower income brackets, as 43.4% of first-time buyers earning $50,000 or more say they plan to use the tax credit.

SOURCE: Move Inc.


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