Miami-area homebuyers prioritize saving, look to purchase in the near term

First-time buyers in the Miami metro area place a significant emphasis on saving and see homeownership on the horizon, according to the second annual Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report. Nearly three-quarters of aspiring buyers in the area cite saving for a home as a major priority, ahead of improving credit scores (71 percent) and saving for retirement (66 percent). This is more than the national average (45 percent) and higher than any of the 10 local markets surveyed. Their focus on saving may be paying off, as prospective Miami buyers are among the most likely to plan to purchase their first home within the next two years (46 percent).

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

Miami-specific highlights from the report include:

Experienced Miami buyers say value goes beyond dollars and cents

  • Current owners in Miami (83 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 (95 percent) and treasure the memories they have made (90 percent).
  • Only 36 percent of Miami homeowners say a home’s value is determined by how much it cost to purchase, but they are increasingly investing in this asset. Eighty-eight percent look for ways to make their home more valuable, and 66 percent spend a lot of free time working on their home.

Aspiring Miami homeowners planning to purchase, open to financial support

  • More than two in five Miami residents say they will buy their first home within the next two years, and 43 percent have started to plan for a down payment.
  • Local first-time buyers are open to support. Sixty-four percent think they would qualify for a down payment assistance program, and 79 percent say they would take advantage of these programs.

Motivations to purchase among Miami homebuyers

  • When making the decision to buy their first home, prospective homeowners are equally motivated by believing money spent on rent would be better invested toward a mortgage (45 percent) and wanting a place to call their own (42 percent).
  • In line with the aspiring homeowners in their area, current Miami owners purchased their first home because they wanted a place to call their own (55 percent), higher than all markets surveyed. They also thought money spent on rent would be better invested toward a mortgage (53 percent) and had the financial means to purchase (44 percent).

Miami owners reflect on their homebuying experience

  • When Miami homeowners decided to buy, they were more likely than their national counterparts and all markets surveyed to set a budget (50 percent vs. 40 percent nationally). They also engaged a real estate professional (45 percent) and went to open houses (41 percent).
  • In looking back at their homebuying experience, current Miami homeowners’ advice includes: start saving for a home early (66 percent), create and stick to a budget (34 percent), consider the maintenance costs and unexpected expenses (33 percent), and buy a home early to start building equity (26 percent).

View the complete 2017 Homebuyer Insights Report here.

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