A new survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs found a majority of Americans want to buy a home and think now is a good time to do it. In fact, a full 65 percent of respondents said they feel homeownership would be a dream come true or an accomplishment to be proud of and 72 percent said now is a good time to buy. The survey also found very few current renters who said they’d prefer to continue renting. In fact, just one in ten said they prefer renting to owning. But despite their desire to own their own home, many Americans have misconceptions about what is required to achieve that goal. For example, the survey found two-thirds of participants believed they’d need very good credit in order to qualify for a home loan and nearly half thought a good credit score was something over 780. In fact, 780 is typically considered an excellent credit score. Prospective home buyers were also scared off by the down payment. Many believed that a 20 percent down payment was always required to buy a house. However, depending on the type of loan, down payment requirements can be as low as 3.5 percent. In addition to that, there are many assistance programs available to buyers who need help coming up with a down payment. More here.
The most recent results of Freddie Mac’s Monthly Multi-Indicator Market Index – which monitors several key indicators to gauge the health of local housing markets across the country – found that 43 of 50 states and 95 of the top 100 metro areas are showing an improving three-month trend. Overall, the housing market has a way to go before it matches its previous index high but a closer look at the numbers finds individual markets across the country registering improvement. Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist, said the index continues to deliver good news. “It’s becoming clearer every month that after several years of local trends largely reflecting national trends, we are getting back to more normal times where local housing markets develop based on their own unique economies,” Kiefer said. “For example, housing markets in the West and Southwest continue to be the bright spot of the recovery and spring home buying season with strong purchase activity fueled by an improving local economy and job picture. Yet, even within these regions, MiMi shows noticeable difference.” More here.