The number of Americans who believe homeownership is a positive financial investment is on the rise, and a majority of renters now say homeownership is one of their highest priorities for the future — both indicators that the housing recovery may be taking off. 

According to the 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey from the National Association of Realtors, renters are thinking more about purchasing a home now than in previous years, while the number of people who claim to prefer renting has dropped. 

"Homeownership matters to Americans who consistently realize the many benefits it provides to communities, families and the nation’s economy," said NAR President Gary Thomas. "Due to high housing affordability and today’s interest rates it makes sense for people to consider homeownership over renting. In fact, in many parts of the country it’s cheaper to own a home than to rent one. Therefore, it’s no surprise that renters recognize that owning a home offers tremendous long-term benefits and is an investment in their future."

The survey revealed that eight in 10 Americans see buying a home as a good financial decision, while more than two-thirds believe now is a smart time to buy a home.

Since the last survey, conducted in 2011, the number of renters who are thinking about purchasing a home is up from 25% to 36%. Those who claim to prefer renting instead of owning a home fell from 31% to 25%. Eventually owning a home is an utmost priority for 51% of those surveyed, up from 42% in the last survey. 

Nearly 40% of Americans recognized an increase in activity within their local housing market over the past year, indicating an improved attitude toward the housing market. Conversely, just 22% reported a slowdown in activity.

Interestingly enough, in 2011, some 51% reported a slowdown in activity. 

The study also revealed fewer concerns about falling home values; a majority said housing prices in their area are more expensive than a year ago.[body goes here]

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