Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

Homeownership top goal for majority of Americans


From enlisting the assistance of property inspection services, to applying for a mortgage, it appears that many Americans today want to experience all the responsibilities and steps that come with homeownership.

According to the results of a recent survey conducted by financial services firm Chase, the banking arm of JP Morgan Chase & Co., nearly nine in every 10 respondents said that being able to purchase a home was a long-held aspiration of theirs. This was such the case that approximately two-thirds indicated that buying a home was one of the best financial investments they could make and three in every four said it was a key part of raising a happy and healthy family.

Kevin Watters CEO of mortgage banking for the financial services company, noted that homeownership is something many people want to experience, doing whatever it takes so that they can have the financial ability to realize their aspiration.

"Owning a home is at the heart of most Americans' dreams," said Watters. "And people are saving as much as possible to achieve homeownership."

At one time, such as during the housing crisis - when many people were foreclosed upon due to an inability to pay off their mortgage - some thought that homeownership couldn't be achieved. But more people are bullish about their chances of being able to afford purchasing a property of their own. Two times the number of first-time homebuyers are optimistic about being able to come up with a 20 percent down payment for a home in this most recent poll versus a similar survey that was conducted in September of last year.

Fewer homeowners behind on payments
Some of first-time homebuyers' optimism may stem from not having to deal with debt. In a recent report released by the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2011, approximately two-thirds of Americans had some form of household debt, such as student loans, medical bills and back car payments. That's down from 74 percent at the start of the study period.

People who have entered the housing market have done so at just the right time, not only because rates are so low, but also because home values are on the rise. According to a its Home Value Index, real estate and housing listing website Zillow says that home prices rose for the 16th consecutive month in February, averaging $158,000 in the country's 30 largest metropolitan areas. That's 6 percent more than what the average was at the same time last year, making it the second-largest annual price rise since August 2006.

"The housing market recovery has continued to gain momentum over the past several months and looks firmly entrenched as we enter the 2013 spring home shopping season," said Stan Humphries, Zillow chief economist.

He added that with home values rising, people who may be saddled with negative equity will likely be able to find some relief, enabling them to put their homes up for sale and purchase another residence.

Should they decide to do so, they're likely best to do it sooner rather than later.

According to Glenn Kelman, Redfin CEO, the market is at its peak. Waiting for values to further increase risks the possibility of home values declining, resulting in less money for sellers to use when they buy their next place. In addition, mortgage rates are at their lowest levels in history, but economists believe that in the not-too-distant future, interest levels will go back to where they've been in the past, which is around 5 percent.