Home values may be down nationwide, but the majority of Americans surveyed by Fannie Mae in the fourth quarter still prefer homeownership as opposed to renting.

Fannie released its quarterly national housing survey Tuesday morning after interviewing 3,000 Americans between the months of October and December.

Two-thirds of renters surveyed said they hope to buy a home in the future — a trend that subsists across all education levels and demographics.

“In spite of the impact of the housing crisis on home values and homeownership rates across the country, Americans by and large still hope to become homeowners,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae. “Some may not be financially positioned to own a home in the near future, but Americans may begin to revisit that aspiration as employment and household balance sheets improve over the coming years.”

Still, Duncan noted that many renters are fearful of homeownership and believe it would be “difficult for them to get a home.”

“A point of concern for the industry is that some consumers find the mortgage shopping process difficult to navigate” Duncan explained. “If potential homeowners avoid the process because they believe it to be too complex, we will likely see a continued impact on homeownership rates.”

As for why Americans search for homes, Duncan said the quality of local schools continues to be a top draw for homebuyers.  

Even as Americans continue to dream of owning their own home, Duncan said fewer citizens view their homes as high potential investments and the “perceived safety of owning a home,” has trended downward in the past few years.



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