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Trulia American Dream Survey Confronts ‘Renter Nation’ Meme

by Peter Thomas Ricci

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Trulia’s latest American Dream survey found millenials are still very interested in homeownership.

In its latest American Dream Survey, real estate website Trulia found that 93 percent of millennials who rent plan to purchase a home some day, and 72 percent of the entire demographic consider homeownership to be part of their American Dream.

With those findings, the American Dream survey – which Trulia has been conducting since 2008, and which featured the thoughts of more than 2,000 consumers – stands in direct opposition to the premise of the “Renter Nation,” a meme that argues that homeownership will forever be on the decline in the post-housing bubble real estate market.

American Dream Survey – Consumers Bullish on Housing

The findings of the American Dream survey were similarly promising for all consumers:

  • Twenty-seven percent of respondents feel more positive about homeownership than they did six months ago, with just 19 percent feeling more negative.
  • Thirty-one percent of renters now plan on buying a home in the next two years, which is a nine-point increase from January 2011 and three-point increase just from May 2012.
  • Interestingly, the American Dream survey also found contradictory attitudes among consumers between mortgage rates and home prices. The older the consumer, the more likely he or she felt that home prices would rise in 2013, while the younger the consumer, the more likely he/she felt that mortgage rates would fall, and vice versa for both topics and age groups.

Encouraging Signs for Home Sales in 2013

The American Dream Survey also had promising reports for home sales in 2013. Housing inventory in 2012, Trulia found, has declined by 23 percent from 2011 and 43 percent from 2010.

That decline, explained Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, has limited options for homebuyers; price, though, have increased, and as a result, more homeowners are thinking of selling in 2013

“2013 could be the year that inventory turns around, just as 2012 was the year that prices started recovering,” Kolko said. “Homebuyers need inventory to choose from, and with fewer foreclosures on the market, new inventory will come from new construction or homeowners wanting to sell. Rising prices will bring out more sellers, especially if price increases lift them back above water. ”

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