Americans want their government to back housing, poll claims

homeAmericans can be contradictory creatures: On the one hand, many Americans say they want government off their backs, Washington to be less intrusive in their lives, and more state involvement and less federal.

That is, until we get to housing.

A new poll from the National Association of Home Builders claims "Americans remain strongly committed to federal support for home buyers."

Granted, the NAHB has a vested interest in promoting such an idea. Still, the poll numbers look impressive.

According to the poll, which was actually conducted by RT Strategies, a Washington, D.C. public opinion polling company for the NAHB, "roughly 68 percent of those polled said the government should continue to support housing and 65 percent believe the government should be doing more to keep families from losing their homes to foreclosure," says a news release on the NAHB Web site.

One thousand adults were interviewed by telephone nationwide between Jan. 29-31 this year.

Some poll specifics:

  • 78% of all potential home buyers, including 81% of renters intending to buy a home in the near future said the government should continue to support housing.
  • 78% of young adults under age 30 support greater foreclosure protection, as do 69% of adults between the ages of 30 and 44.

The poll would suggest that Americans who say they want less government interference in their lives have a sharply different view when their own economic self-interest is at stake. But , of course, that should probably not come as a surprise to anyone. Only human nature, I suppose.

The poll numbers would also suggest that the Obama administration should have a relatively easy go of it should it opt to push for yet another extension of that tax credit for first time home buyers. And, the the country may be more supportive than some think of a continuation of the current federal policy of buying up mortgage-backed securities which has been widely credited with keeping the interest rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages at historically low levels.

There has been lots of talk that the the federal government will soon phase this out, but also lots of speculation that it dare not do so anytime soon for fear of making interest rates rise, resulting in a double dip recession.

One other item of note from this poll: Despite the recession and the decrease in home values, 40% of respondents said their home is "their most valuable investment," more than beating out other investments such as savings accounts, stocks, and 401k accounts.

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has written about real estate related issues for several years.

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