Houston-area homebuyers plan to purchase solo, willing to put in the work

Many aspiring buyers in the Houston metro area are looking to become solo homeowners, according to the second annual Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report. Forty percent plan to buy their first home by themselves instead of with family or a spouse, which is more than those nationally (27 percent) and any of the 10 local markets surveyed. Buying alone does not deter prospective Houstonian owners from seeking a fixer-upper, as one-quarter say they are looking for a home to make major renovations and upgrades to - also higher than the national average (17 percent) and any other market surveyed.

The report, a study exploring homebuying perceptions and behaviors among adult consumers, also found that amid rising rental rates across the country, 78 percent of Houston-area homebuyers believe owning is more affordable than renting. In fact, current Houston owners were most likely to have purchased their first home because they thought money spent on rent would be better invested toward a mortgage (50 percent).

Houston-specific highlights from the report include:

Experienced Houston buyers say value goes beyond dollars and cents

  • Current owners in Houston (80 percent) overwhelmingly say homeownership has a positive impact on their long-term financial picture.
  • Beyond financial value, local owners also see clear emotional benefits of homeownership, as nearly all are proud of owning their home (92 percent) and treasure the memories they have made (87 percent).
  • Only 34 percent of Houston homeowners say a home’s value is determined by how much it cost to purchase, but they are increasingly investing in this asset. Seventy-six percent look for ways to make their home more valuable, and 69 percent spend a lot of free time working on their home.

Aspiring Houston homeowners are planning ahead

  • Although they are juggling a variety of financial responsibilities, including paying off debts and bills (58 percent), improving credit scores (49 percent) and saving for retirement (45 percent), nearly half of prospective buyers in Houston say saving for a home is a major priority.
  • More than one in four Houstonians say they will buy their first home within the next two years, and 44 percent have started to plan for a down payment.
  • Local first-time buyers are open to support. Fifty-nine percent think they would qualify for a down payment assistance program, and 86 percent say they would take advantage of these programs.

Motivations to purchase among Houston homebuyers

  • When making the decision to buy their first home, prospective homeowners are equally motivated by wanting a place to call their own (41 percent) and having a steady job with a steady income (39 percent). Thirty-five percent cite having the financial means to purchase.
  • Current Houston owners were influenced to buy their first home because they thought money spent on rent would be better invested toward a mortgage (50 percent), they wanted a place to call their own (44 percent) and had the financial means to purchase (38 percent).

Houston owners reflect on their homebuying experience

  • When Houston homeowners decided to buy, engaging a real estate professional (44 percent), setting a budget (43 percent) and getting prequalified (35 percent) were the most common actions they took.
  • In looking back at their homebuying experience, current homeowners’ advice includes: start saving for a home early (66 percent), consider the maintenance costs and unexpected expenses (43 percent), and create and stick to a budget (39 percent).

View the complete 2017 Homebuyer Insights Report here.


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