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LONG-TERM IMPLICATIONS OF MORTGAGE MELTDOWN

In recognition of June as National Housing Month, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has released the results of a recent housing survey which revealed that almost half of all American adults, more than 100 million people, no longer believe that homeownership is a realistic way to build wealth. This is counter to the long-held belief that buying a home and building equity should be a major component of a person’s financial strategy.

Other findings from the survey were equally reflective of this new attitude toward homeownership:
  • Almost one-third of those surveyed, or roughly 72 million people, do not think they will ever be able to afford to buy a home;
  • Forty-two percent of those who once purchased a home, but no longer own it, do not thing they’ll ever be able to afford to buy another one;
  • Of those who still own a home, 31 percent do not think they’ll ever be able to buy another home (upgrade existing home, buy a vacation home, etc.); and
  • Seventy-four percent of those who have never purchased a home felt that they could benefit from first-time homebuyer education from a professional.
The lack of confidence in consumers’ ability to buy a home, improve their current housing situation, or trust homeownership to provide a significant portion of their wealth sends a strong message about the impact of the housing crisis. The good news from the survey is that people now seem to grasp that buying a home is a complicated process and admit that they would benefit from education in advance of signing on the dotted line.

NFCC Member Agencies represent the largest number of certified housing counselors in the nation, providing housing education either one-on-one or through a variety of workshops. Housing-related services include first-time homebuyer and pre-purchase education, reverse mortgage counseling and foreclosure prevention counseling.

Consumers can also gain additional knowledge through the NFCC housing Web site, www.MortgageHelpNow.org, or to view the Web site in Spanish, go to www.NoPierdasTuHogar.org. To be automatically connected with the NFCC Member Agency closest to you, call (866) 687-6322, or for assistance in Spanish, dial (800) 682-9832.

The Homeownership Survey was conducted by telephone within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) between May 29 and June 1, 2009 among 1,001 adults ages 18+. The full survey is available at www.nfcc.org.