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Younger Americans hope for homes while still drowning in debt

Published: Monday, Feb. 4 2013 2:40 p.m. MST

Homeownership matters

Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey

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SALT LAKE CITY — Millennials and Generation Xers place a higher importance on and hold more favorable views toward homeownership than older generations, a new report by Prudential Real Estate says. Of respondents ages 25-34, 77 percent say home ownership is very important. Older respondents ages 55-64 had 72 percent saying it was very important.

The Prudential Real Estate Outlook survey also found:

Home ownership remains important to 96 percent of Americans.

The survey says 78 percent of respondents ages 35-44 indicated home ownership is "very important."

In the survey, 74 percent of respondents agree that with interest rates at historically low levels now is a great time to buy a home.

Space, safety and investment drive the reasons to own a home, with 97 percent of respondents stating that home ownership allows for more control over living space. Tax benefits finished a distant sixth on the survey's reasons for buying a home.

The survey says 63 percent of Americans have a favorable or somewhat favorable perception of the U.S. residential real estate market and, again, younger generations are more likely to possess a favorable opinion when compared to their older counterparts.

"Millennials and Generation X — about 85 million people strong — face a unique opportunity in U.S. housing," said Earl Lee, chief executive officer at HSF Affiliates LLC and president of Prudential Real Estate, in a press release. "They are generally optimistic about homeownership and, by nature, share a strong sense of community. As important, many were not impacted by the real estate downturn and are looking at today's buying opportunities with keen interest."

Younger Americans, however, may not find their homeownership dreams coming true if their habits do not change.

A Reuters article says:

"American credit card holders in their late 20s and early 30s have more debt than older consumers, repay it more slowly and risk dying in debt if they don't curb their spending habits, a new study showed on (Jan. 14). Researchers (found) that people born between 1980 and 1984 have on average $5,689 more debt than their parents had at the same stage of their lives, and $8,156 more than their grandparents."

Theodore Decker at The Columbus Dispatch put it more bluntly: "That Chanel handbag might be to die for, and perhaps you truly couldn't have lived without that all-inclusive trip to Cancun. But the credit-card debt that those purchases helped to build could be following you to the grave."

If they can afford a grave.

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @degroote

Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote

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