Tuesday, December 13, 2011 / by Justin Hoffmann
Their research indicates that almost one-third of those surveyed reveal housing is the top issue. It's no wonder why. Millions of homeowners across the country are currently in foreclosure or are at risk of entering this state. Many others have experienced a dramatic loss of equity in their homes as prices shrank back to 2003 levels.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues is the large number of homeowners who are now upside down in their mortgages, meaning they owe more to the bank than their home is currently worth. What should be one of their biggest assets is now one of their biggest liabilities. Many don't have the option to sell or move if the need arises. Is there a new job being offered in the neighboring state? May homeowners may have to forgo a move in order to keep good credit and a roof over their heads.
The pent-up demand has left a considerable mark on the construction market. Millions of workers are out of jobs as builders find it difficult to obtain credit and are wary of beginning new projects. Building permits have been down across the entire country.
"We need to keep housing first on the nation's public policy agenda, because housing and home ownership issues affect all Americans," said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. "The results of this survey show that many Americans understand that."
In fact, the NAR reports that housing makes up more than 15 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product). Research has shown it is a "key driver of the national economy." It works like a snowball effect. A healthy and progressing housing market means jobs. NAR estimates for every 2 homes sold, one job is created. Homeowners also invigorate the economy in other sectors, such as retail, through decorating and upgrades. Respondents were asked in the HouseLogic survey: "What issue area will have the greatest impact on your vote in 2012?" National security, healthcare, and energy/environment trailed housing and unemployment by wide margins:
Jobs/unemployment – 54 percent
Housing – 27 percent
National security – 8 percent
Healthcare – 4 percent
Energy/Environment – 2 percent
Other – 4 percent
The NAR's other recent stats indicate the economy may be attempting a rebound. Pending home sales rose in October and unemployment rates dropped slightly for the month. Next year's voters will have a lot to say about candidate's plans for overhauling current programs, as well as plans for helping housing get back on its feet.
by Carla Hill