Gallup poll: It’s a good time to buy, but many can’t

Americans Still See Buyer's Market in Housing

Overall, there is good reason for most Americans to think now is a good time to buy a house. Interest rates remain near historic lows. Home prices are down sharply, providing many incredible buys. There is a huge supply of unsold homes and more to come as home foreclosures hit record highs — suggesting that the bargains could get even better as the year unfolds.

… Today, the housing finance system is broken and works in favor of cash buyers and buyers with perfect credit. The collapse and government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created a government-run housing finance system dominated by these two fully federalized agencies, together with the FHA/VA. The current housing market is thus effectively limited to potential buyers who can meet the loan qualifications of these housing finance entities or who have enough money to buy without a loan. Further, even qualified buyers are often limited by the need to find a buyer who can meet the same conditions to purchase their current home. As a result, although many feel this is a good time to buy, relatively few can take advantage of the situation.

– Dennis Jacobe, Gallup’s chief economist, on a new Gallup poll finding that 67% of Americans feel now is a “good time” to buy a house. The poll also shows 27% believe the average price of homes in their area will decrease over the next year, while 21% believe prices will go up, and 42% are worried that their own home will lose value.

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