If a recent poll is any predictor, 2017 may be a drab year for homeownership.
According to the recent December Financial Literacy Opinion Index conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), only 10 percent of Americans say buying a home is their top financial priority in the new year.
A whopping 80 percent of respondents say paying down debts is their No. 1 concern—far and away the top choice among financial priorities—while another 5 percent say growing their personal savings is their top choice.
The NFCC cites consumer confidence and more frequent credit card use, particularly around the holiday seasons, as a large part of the poll’s results.
“It’s a sobering moment when the credit card bill arrives in January and reveals a mountain of debt fueled by holiday spending,” said NFCC spokesman Bruce McClary. “January is a good time for planning to get debt under control before it becomes unmanageable.”
Rounding out the list of financial goals for 2017 were buying a car, which 2 percent of respondents say is their highest priority, and “none of the above,” which accounted for another 2 percent, according to NFCC.
NFCC conducted the recent Financial Literacy Opinion Index throughout the month of December on its website, NFCC.org. A total of 1,834 individuals participated.
While homeownership may not be a top priority for many Americans who are deeply in debt, another recent poll showed that the desire to own a home is there. A survey of more than 2,800 registered voters conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that 81 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds want to buy a home, and 36 percent of all respondents would like to buy a home in the next three years.
“The survey shows that most Americans believe that owning a home remains an integral part of the American Dream and that policymakers need to take active steps to encourage and protect homeownership,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Illinois.
Having enough money for a down payment was not the biggest obstacle to achieving homeownership in the NAHB survey, however. Fifty-five percent said that finding a home that was sufficiently priced was the biggest barrier, compared to 50 percent for the down payment.