The economic downturn that ended a few years ago may have soured many consumers on making significant financial decisions. But as the effects of the recession fade, many may be more interested in homeownership. That seems particularly true of younger consumers who may not have been in a position to buy years ago.
Today, the vast majority of consumers between the ages of 25 and 44, comprising both millennials and those in Generation X, say that homeownership is at least somewhat important to them, according to a new survey from Prudential Real Estate. In all, 96 percent of all consumers feel this way. But 77 percent of those aged 25 to 34, and 78 percent of people between 35 and 44, say it's "very important." Further, 74 percent say that the current levels of affordability lent by historically low interest rates mean that now is a great time for them to buy a home.
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"Millennials and Generation X -- about 85 million people strong -- face a unique opportunity in U.S. housing," said Earl Lee, chief executive officer at HSF Affiliates LLC and president of Prudential Real Estate. "They are generally optimistic about homeownership and, by nature, share a strong sense of community. As important, many were not impacted by the real estate downturn and are looking at today's buying opportunities with keen interest."
In addition, 63 percent of those polled say they currently have a favorable view of the real estate market in general, and those in the younger generations were typically more enthusiastic about it than their older counterparts, the report said. Further, the number of people who contemplated getting into the market but did not buy or sell a property in the previous year was up 10 percent in the last six months of 2012 when compared with the end of the second quarter.
However, many consumers are still understandably cautious about wading into real estate even with all the improvements and good sentiments, the report said. In all, 62 percent say they're having more trouble getting financing from lenders than they would have faced prior to the downturn, and 72 percent want to have a trusted partner in their lender. It's believed that more buyers will continue entering the market in the next year at least, driven largely by interest rates and prices that have remained extremely low when compared with historical norms.
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