St. Louis-area homeowners buy with family in mind

For St. Louis-area homeowners, family plays a major role in the homebuying decision, according to the second annual Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report. Compared to the national average (35 percent) and all other markets surveyed, St. Louis homeowners (51 percent) purchased their first home for familial reasons, including marriage and children. Additionally, 59 percent of experienced buyers in St. Louis associate homeownership as family, higher than any of the 10 local markets surveyed.

The report, a study exploring homebuying perceptions and behaviors among adult consumers, also found that amid rising rental rates across the country, 87 percent of St. Louis-area homebuyers believe owning is more affordable than renting. In fact, nearly half of current St. Louis owners purchased their first home because they thought money spent on rent would be better invested toward a mortgage.

St. Louis-specific highlights from the report include:

Experienced St. Louis buyers say value goes beyond dollars and cents

  • Current owners in St. Louis (76 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 (91 percent) and treasure the memories they have made (91 percent).
  • Just 24 percent of experienced St. Louis buyers 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 71 percent spend a lot of free time working on their home.

Aspiring St. Louis homeowners are planning ahead

  • Although they are juggling a variety of financial responsibilities, including paying off debts and bills (84 percent), improving credit scores (55 percent) and saving for retirement (48 percent), nearly half of prospective buyers in St. Louis say saving for a home is a major priority.
  • Forty-six percent of local respondents say they will buy their first home within the next two years, and 58 percent have started to plan for a down payment.
  • Local first-time buyers are open to support. Sixty-nine percent think they would qualify for a down payment assistance program, and 85 percent say they would take advantage of these programs.
  • When making the decision to buy their first home, prospective homeowners are equally motivated by thinking the money they spend on rent would be better invested toward a mortgage (52 percent) and having a steady job with a steady income (52 percent).

St. Louis owners reflect on their homebuying experience

  • When local homeowners decided to buy, engaging a real estate professional (55 percent), setting a budget (39 percent) and getting prequalified (36 percent) were the most common actions they took.
  • In looking back at their homebuying experience, current St. Louis owners’ advice includes: start saving for a home early (60 percent), consider the maintenance costs and unexpected expenses (46 percent), and create and stick to a budget (39 percent).

View the complete 2017 Homebuyer Insights Report here.

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