MANSFIELD, Texas (9/27/12)--People who are renting apartments or houses have a high interest in buying a home, although one-in-eight North Texas homeowners is interested in selling a house and buying another, according to a survey by Texas Trust CU in Mansfield, Texas.
The $754 million asset Texas Trust conducted its first online survey of the region's homeowners and renters in mid-August to gauge attitudes about home ownership. While the survey reflects a slowly recovering housing market in the region, it also highlights a more pragmatic and less-idealized vision of home ownership, said the credit union.
For example, 83% of non-homeowners surveyed say they are interested in buying a house, either this year or within the next five years. Of those, three out of four indicate their main motivations are financial, not emotional. Thirty-four percent see home ownership as a better investment than renting, and 28% see it as an investment in their family's financial future. Seven percent want to build equity, and another 7% are motivated by the mortgage-interest tax deduction.
Twenty-two percent are motivated by the "emotional" attractions of the personal pride of home ownership or having something to pass along to their children when they retire, said the credit union.
Among the current homeowners interested in buying another house at this time, financial motivations also dominated. Among the group, 50% are attracted by current low interest rates, 18% want a bigger house for less money, and 16% see another house as a good investment.
Among other survey findings:
- Of the renters interested in buying a home, 77% define an "affordable" down payment as 5% or less of the price of the home. Among current homeowners, 48% define affordable that way, 26% of respondents would pay 10% down, and 23% of them would agree to 20% or higher down payment.
- Sixty percent of renters interested in buying a home say they would prefer to buy an existing home, while 40% prefer a new or custom-built home.
- Thirty-one percent of all current homeowners are considering refinancing (41% for those interested in another house and 28% for those not interested in moving). Also, 24% have refinanced within the last two years, and 19% say their mortgage is paid off.
- Seventy-four percent of current homeowners say they are not under water on their home--that they do have equity; 9% say they don't have equity, and 17% are unsure.
- Eighty-four percent of homeowners say they have never missed a mortgage payment; 13% admit to missing five payments or fewer during the life of their mortgage.
- Of the renters interested in buying a home, 24% expressed confidence in their ability to get a home loan. More than 50% said obtaining a loan would be challenging or difficult, and the others weren't sure.
"What motivated most people to buy houses in the past isn't necessarily the same as what motivates them today," said Richard Whitman, Texas Trust vice president of mortgage lending. "According to our survey, Dallas-Fort Worth area residents no longer see home ownership as the American dream. Instead, they're coming to see it more as a financial investment designed to grow their net worth."
Texas Trust surveyed 1,719 respondents, 86% of them members of the credit union.