Americans still dream of owning a home – but rising prices are holding them back.
A new Gallup poll found that only 30% of Americans believe now is the right time to buy a home. This is the lowest level on record since Gallup began surveying Americans on the question in 1978, and for the first time less than 50% of people across the country thought it was a good time to buy.
In other words, even at the height of the foreclosure crisis in the Great Depression, at least 50% of Americans thought it was the right time to buy a home. But today, with house prices and mortgage rates rising, people are worried about drowning
“A much more negative assessment of the current housing market for Americans may not lead them to buy, which could lead to a slowdown in home sales,” the Gallup report noted. “If that happened then we would all be in for a rude awakening.”
The Gallup survey found that attitudes towards home buying have become more pessimistic in every region of the country and in all subgroups, including both tenants and landlords. The largest drop-off occurred among suburban residents. Last year, 60% of these residents said it was a good time to buy, compared to just 27% in a Gallup poll conducted in April.
Young adults were more likely to have a negative attitude towards buying a home. Only 25% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 believe that the time is right to own a home.
The expectation is that house prices will continue to rise, based on the growing frustration of Americans towards the real estate market. Gallup reports that 70% of respondents said they expect average house prices in their area to rise next year, versus 18% who expect them to stay the same and 12% who believe they will decrease.
While most people expect home ownership to be a tough goal, Americans still see it as the best long-term investment. Nearly half (45%) of those surveyed by Gallup said real estate is the best long-term investment, with 24% saying stock and 15% saying gold.