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Would-be Homeowners: You Can't Always Get What You Want

COUNTRY Survey: Less Than Half Say Home Ownership is Attainable for Middle Class

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Is home ownership still an attainable American dream? According to a new COUNTRY Financial Security Index® survey, while a vast majority (88 percent) of Americans think owning their own home is important, less than half (45 percent) say home ownership is attainable for middle-income families. Further, just 43 percent say buying a home is the best investment a family can make.

Nevertheless, a majority of Americans (53 percent) think it is better to own than rent. Only 25 percent say renting is better than owning, and 22 percent are unsure which is best. Most renters also dream of home ownership, but many are wary of the investment.

  • Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of renters say it's important for them to own a home.
  • However, just 32 percent of renters feel it is the best investment a family can make.

Americans do seem to have an optimistic outlook on the housing market, though, as 71 percent expect home values to go up or stay about the same over the next five years.

"Home ownership is important for Americans, but the market's slow recovery might be causing them to doubt its value. However, Americans are confident about future home values," says Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. "As mortgage lenders tighten their requirements, home ownership might seem unattainable. Ensuring you're able to meet your monthly obligations and have a good credit score will help in turning a dream of home ownership into reality."

Watch an interview with Troy Frerichs, senior investment officer at COUNTRY Financial, about the recovering housing market with tips for Americans looking to buy a home at www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com.

Skepticism Varies with Age
Younger Americans are more likely to think owning a home is attainable but not necessarily a good investment, while older Americans say the opposite.


18-29

Years Old

30-39

Years Old

40-49

Years Old

50-64

Years Old

65+

Years Old

Think owning a home is attainable for a typical middle-income family

49%

50%

45%

43%

36%

Think buying a home is the best investment families can make

37%

37%

44%

48%

51%

Mortgage Gap Persists
Regarding their mortgage, 65 percent say they wouldn't be able to make payments after nine months if they lost their job. This is down four points from 2011, but remains shorter than the current average unemployment length of nearly 10 months*.

High-income earners say they can maintain their mortgage payments for longer than middle- to low-income groups in the event of job loss. However, more than half of those earning $75,000 to $100,000 (65 percent) and those earning more than $100,000 (51 percent) still could not pay their mortgage beyond the current average unemployment length.

"Although the housing and job market may be recovering, there's still a sense of uncertainty. No matter your age or income, a commitment to growing your savings can help ensure life's unexpected changes don't prevent you from meeting your financial obligations and goals," adds Buhrmann. "The key is getting started."

*According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The COUNTRY survey on home ownership is based on a national telephone and online survey of 3,000 Americans and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC (www.rasmussenreports.com), an independent research firm.

About COUNTRY
COUNTRY Financial (http://www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.

SOURCE COUNTRY Financial



RELATED LINKS
http://www.countryfinancial.com

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