Denver-area homeowners advise to buy early, view current home as stepping stone

Denver-area homeowners see value in buying early, even if that means putting their dream home on hold for now, according to the second annual Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report. Forty-six percent of experienced local buyers say their current home is a stepping stone to their forever home, which is more than the national average (36 percent) and any of the 10 local markets surveyed. When sharing advice on the homebuying experience, nearly one in three Denver owners say buy a home sooner to start building equity.

The report, a study exploring homebuying perceptions and behaviors among adult consumers, also found that amid rising rental rates across the country, Denver-area homebuyers (91 percent) are more likely than all other markets surveyed to believe owning is more affordable than renting. In fact, current Denver owners were most likely to have purchased their first home because they thought money spent on rent would be better invested toward a mortgage (57 percent).

Denver-specific highlights from the report include:

Experienced Denver buyers say value goes beyond dollars and cents

  • Current owners in Denver (87 percent) overwhelmingly say homeownership has a positive impact on their long-term financial picture.
  • While they may not be in their forever home, Denverites show clear sentimental ties to their property, as 92 percent feel proud of owning and 90 percent treasure the memories they have made. Just 9 percent say owning a home is a burden, lower than any other market surveyed.
  • Only 29 percent of Denver homeowners say a home’s value is determined by how much it cost to purchase, but they are increasingly investing in this asset. Eighty-two percent look for ways to make their home more valuable, and 66 percent spend a lot of free time working on their home.

Aspiring Denver homeowners are planning ahead

  • Although they are juggling a variety of financial responsibilities, including saving for retirement (54 percent), paying off debts and bills (36 percent), and improving credit scores (36 percent), nearly half of prospective buyers in Denver say saving for a home is a major priority.
  • Thirty-two percent of Denverites say they will buy their first home within the next two years, and 41 percent say they have started to plan for a down payment.
  • Local first-time buyers are open to support. Thirty-seven percent think they would qualify for a down payment assistance program, and 66 percent say they would take advantage of these programs.

Motivations to purchase among Denver homebuyers

  • When making the decision to buy their first home, prospective homeowners are motivated by having the financial means to purchase (57 percent) and having a steady job with a steady income (40 percent). Fewer (28 percent) are influenced by wanting a place to call their own.
  • In line with the aspiring homeowners in their area, current Denver owners were influenced to buy their first home because they thought money spent on rent would be better invested toward a mortgage (57 percent) and had the financial means to purchase (50 percent). Forty-three percent bought because interest rates and home prices were favorable, higher than any other market surveyed.

Denver owners reflect on their homebuying experience

  • When Denver homeowners decided to buy, they were more likely than their national counterparts to engage a real estate professional (70 percent vs. 52 percent), get prequalified (48 percent vs. 39 percent) and set a budget (47 percent vs. 40 percent).
  • In looking back at their homebuying experience, current Denver homeowners would tell their younger selves to start saving for a home early (54 percent), consider the maintenance costs and unexpected expenses (51 percent), and create and stick to a budget (31 percent).

View the complete 2017 Homebuyer Insights Report here.

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