Rising monthly payments serve as barrier to homeownershipMortgagePress.comNational Housing Opportunity Pulse, survey, National Association of Realtors
One out of three Americans worries that rising monthly payments,
especially property taxes and energy costs, will force him to sell
his home and buy a less expensive one, according to the fourth
annual National Housing Opportunity Pulse, a survey released by the
National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The survey also found that by a two to one margin, Americans
believe that high monthly payments, rather than high down payments,
are the greatest obstacle to buying a home. Rising property taxes
are the leading concern associated with owning a home (34 percent),
followed by increasing electrical, fuel and other energy costs (28
percent). Only 14 percent said rising mortgage interest rates would
keep them from becoming homeowners.
Its clear America is facing a crisis in housing opportunities,
with nearly two-thirds of families concerned about being able to
find a home they both like and can afford, said Thomas M. Stevens,
2006 NAR president and senior vice president of NRT Inc. Many
families are struggling to meet the high cost of homeownership, and
increasingly, those costs are property taxes and energy
In 2003, the average monthly mortgage principal and interest
payment was $840. In 2005, families were paying 23.8 percent more,
or $1,040, monthly. In the past year alone, the average monthly
mortgage principal and interest payment has gone up 11.5 percent,
from $1,015 in April 2005 to $1,132 in April 2006. The Energy
Information Administration estimates that in February 2006, the
price of electricity was 12 percent higher than in February 2005,
natural gas was up 28 percent and home heating oil was up 25
percent. State and local property taxes for the 2004 fiscal year
averaged $1,121 per person, up 13.8 percent from fiscal year 2003
when the average was $985, and 15.7 percent higher than the $969
average for the 2002 fiscal year, according to the Census
The survey found that more than 42 percent of Americans cite the
lack of affordable housing in their community as one of their top
three concerns, following high energy costs (82 percent) and the
lack of affordable health care (53 percent). Nearly a third worry
that the cost of housing is so unaffordable that they will never be
able to buy a home, and more than 58 percent are concerned that the
cost of a home is becoming so unaffordable that it is hurting their
Anywhere between one-fifth and one-third report not seeing as
much of friends and family and not being as involved in their
neighborhood as they would like. They also report missing out on
promotions, having less productivity and cutting back on vacations
because they have to work too much to pay for their homes or they
dont have the money because of high home costs.
The lack of affordable housing is also affecting renters. More
than two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans believe having enough
money to pay rent every month is difficult for families in their
community, up seven percent from last year.
Support for affordable housing is high. Eight in 10 would be
willing to support more affordable homes being made available for
people in their community, and a record 68 percent would be more
likely to vote for a candidate that worked to make housing more
affordable in their area, up six percent in two years.
People care about affordable housing, and a candidates position
on this issue makes a significant difference to voters, said
Stevens. Americans are increasingly looking to their community
leaders to seek ways to take a more active role in addressing
affordability issues in their communities.
Most Americans are also increasingly concerned that their
children or other family members will not be able to afford housing
in their communities (57 percent) and that they and family members
will be forced to live in less desirable areas because homes in
more desirable areas are not affordable (46 percent).
For more information, visit www.realtor.org.