Although the housing bubble and bust may have shattered notions that home prices have nowhere to go but up, Americans haven’t lost their love for owning a home. In the latest Allstate/National JournalHeartland Monitor poll, homeownership ranked second, just behind raising a family, in people’s definition of the American Dream. Despite new home sales' drop to a record low, about four-fifths of respondents said that owning a home is still a better financial decision than renting, and nearly nine in 10 homeowners say would buy their home again.
Those results also underscore the extent to which Americans see buying a home as a deeply personal decision. It seems the decision to buy a home is made from the heart, while the decision to rent comes from the wallet.
We reveal the top seven reasons why Americans are still drawn to owning a home, and the four reasons that make them hesitant to buy, according to the Heartland Monitor poll.
Reason to Buy No. 7: Getting a tax deduction
Only 2 percent said they considered the tax deduction for homeowner’s a reason to buy a home. That number may come as a shock to members of the Obama administration, who designed the first-time homebuyer tax credit, now expired, as an incentive to bring more buyers to market.
Reason to Buy No. 6: Following in your parents’ footsteps
Following the path of mom and dad tied with a tax deduction among participants. Only 2 percent said they considered it important to own a home because they had grown up in a house
Reason to Buy No. 5: Being part of a neighborhood and community
Putting down roots in a community was a reason to buy a home among 6 percent of participants.
Reason to Buy No. 4: Acquiring an asset you can pass along
The security that used to come with owning a tangible property may have faded, but 9 percent of participants said they still consider it a reason to buy a home.
Reason to Buy No. 3: Making a good, long-term investment
Although foreclosure rates may tell us otherwise, 13 percent still believed that owning a home is a good, long-term investment.
Reason to Buy No. 2: Building equity rather than paying rent
Building equity was the strongest of all financial reasons to own a home. Twenty-six percent of participants said they would own a home to build credit through a mortgage payment rather than earning less credit through paying rent.
Reason to Buy No. 1: Having a place to raise a family
An overwhelming 40 percent said that raising a family in a place of their own was the ultimate factor in their decision to buy. The housing market may rise and fall, but the value of the home to the American family seems set in stone.
Reason Not to Buy No. 4: Entering into many years of debt
The bursting of the bubble and the horror stories that followed made 13 percent of respondents hesitant to agree to pay the high price of a home.
Reason Not to Buy No. 3: Losing the flexibility to move if you need to find a new job
In our mobile society and fickle job market, 21 percent said they would be hesitant to lock into a place that they may not be able to sell should they have to move to take a job.
Reason Not to Buy No. 2: Risking you home losing value if real-estate prices drop
“Price Reduced” signs cropping up in the yards of neighbors desperate to sell led 21 percent to back away from buying a home that could sell for less than the price they paid for it.
Reason Not to Buy No. 1: Monthly mortgage payments are too high
As opposed to the familial emotions that made 40 percent lean toward homeownership, the harsh realities of high monthly mortgage payments was the ultimate reason that 40 percent of participants said they would not buy a home.