Smithfield Herald

Survey finds optimism about homeownership

A survey by the National Association of Realtors finds that most renters say homeownership is a high priority for the future and that they are thinking more about buying a home now than in past years. The survey also found that Americans overwhelmingly think owning a home is a good financial decision.

“Renters are increasingly recognizing the benefits of homeownership,” said Donald Byrd, president of the Johnston County Association of Realtors. “In addition to its many social benefits – such as providing a stable, safe environment – the financial benefits of owning a home are even more apparent to renters now. In some areas of the country it’s cheaper to own a home than it is to rent. Homeownership also is one of the best ways to build financial security over the long term. In most cases, the benefits of homeownership far outweigh the benefits of renting.”

The 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey, which measured consumer attitudes and concerns about housing opportunities, found that Americans’ outlook on the housing market is improving. Nearly four in 10 Americans (38 percent) identified an increase in activity in their local housing market in the past year, compared to just 22 percent who reported a slowdown. Respondents were also less concerned than in the past about foreclosures and the drop in home values.

The survey also found that more than two-thirds of those surveyed said now is a good time to buy. The Johnston County Association of Realtors believes that despite a recent rise in mortgage rates and lower home-inventory levels, housing remains affordable.

“It’s a seller’s market in many areas of the country,” said Byrd. “However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still opportunities for buyers. Home prices are still very affordable for the typical buyer. Buyer traffic is also up from this time last year, so it’s evident that people want to be homeowners.”

The Johnston County Association of Realtors has a few tips for renters or move-up buyers looking for a new place to call home. First, know your credit history and understand how the credit system works. Next, do your research. Home inventories are low in many areas, and sellers are receiving multiple bids, so it’s imperative to be ready to make an offer when you see a home you like. Then, identify neighborhoods that you like and think about what you need and want in a home.

“Most importantly, contact a Realtor in your area,” said Byrd. “Realtors are the most trusted resource for real estate information and can give buyers the advantage they need in today’s market.”

You can find a Johnston County Realtor at Click on “Find A Realtor.”