Chicago-area homeowners show overwhelming pride in their home

For experienced buyers in the Chicago metro area, homeownership has clear sentimental value, according to the second annual Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report. Nearly all (97 percent) Chicago homeowners say they are proud of owning their home, higher than any of the 10 local markets surveyed. Additionally, 92 percent say they treasure the memories they have made in their home, and 79 percent say their home is an extension of their personality.

The report, a study exploring homebuying perceptions and behaviors among adult consumers, also found that amid rising rental rates across the country, 73 percent of Chicago-area homebuyers believe owning is more affordable than renting. In fact, current Chicago owners were most likely to have purchased their first home because they thought money spent on rent would be better invested toward a mortgage (47 percent).

Chicago-specific highlights from the report include:

Experienced Chicago homeowners see positive long-term impacts

  • Beyond emotional benefits, Chicago owners also see the financial value of owning a home, as 86 percent say homeownership has a positive impact on their long-term financial picture.
  • Only 36 percent of Chicago homeowners say a home’s value is determined by how much it cost to purchase, but they are increasingly investing in this asset. Eighty-one percent look for ways to make their home more valuable, and 66 percent spend a lot of free time working on their home.
  • For experienced Chicago buyers, homeownership means a financial investment (63 percent), family (48 percent) and responsibility (47 percent).

Aspiring Chicago homeowners are planning ahead

  • Although they are juggling a variety of financial responsibilities, including paying off debts and bills (59 percent), saving for retirement (48 percent) and improving credit scores (46 percent), nearly half of prospective buyers in Chicago say saving for a home is a major priority.
  • More than one in four Chicagoans say they will buy their first home within the next two years, and 39 percent have started to plan for a down payment.
  • Local first-time buyers are open to support. Forty-one percent think they would qualify for a down payment assistance program, and 62 percent say they would take advantage of these programs.

Motivations to purchase among Chicago homebuyers

  • When making the decision to buy their first home, prospective homeowners are equally motivated by wanting a place to call their own (39 percent) and having the financial means to purchase (38 percent). One-quarter cite being tired of living with roommates or family, higher than all markets surveyed.
  • Current Chicago owners purchased their first home because they thought money spent on rent would be better invested toward a mortgage (47 percent) and they wanted a place to call their own (45 percent).

Chicago owners reflect on their homebuying experience

  • When Chicago owners decided to buy, engaging a real estate professional (58 percent) and setting a budget (44 percent) were the most common actions they took. Compared to the national average (39 percent), more local owners (43 percent) also got prequalified.
  • In looking back at their homebuying experience, current Chicago homeowners’ advice includes: start saving for a home early (64 percent), consider the maintenance costs and unexpected expenses (43 percent), and create and stick to a budget (36 percent).

View the complete 2017 Homebuyer Insights Report here.

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