SOURCE: Trulia

Trulia

December 14, 2011 14:00 ET

Republicans and Democrats Align on Key Housing Policy Goals Heading Into Election Year

President Obama Faces Uphill Battle for Reelection in 2012 as Housing Crisis Continues Into Fifth Year

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Dec 14, 2011) - Trulia today released the findings from its latest consumer survey on American attitudes on housing policy and the 2012 presidential election. Harris Interactive conducted this online survey on Trulia's behalf on November 17-21, 2011 among 2,028 U.S. adults.

KEY FINDINGS:

  • Republicans and Democrats see eye to eye on what's important for housing: Despite a sharp partisan divide among policymakers, most Americans -- regardless of their political affiliation -- agree that fixing the economy should come before housing policy. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats said lowering unemployment is an extremely or very important public policy goal. This was followed by raising employment growth and reducing the Federal budget deficit. Although housing is seen as a lower priority, 72 percent of Americans strongly or somewhat agree that government policies and programs should encourage homeownership. When asked about specific policies and proposals, there was a stronger call for efforts to help homeowners stay in their homes as opposed to helping people buy homes. Most Americans favored making it easier for homeowners to refinance, while only 46 percent wanted to raise the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limit.
Housing Policies and Proposals That Americans Strongly/Somewhat Agree With
Housing Policies and Proposals All Respondents Republicans Democrats
Make it easier for homeowners who ARE NOT underwater to refinance 80% 77% 82%
Make it easier for homeowners who ARE underwater to refinance 78% 69% 82%
Encourage institutions and investors who own vacant homes to rent them out 74% 71% 76%
Re-introduce the first-time homebuyer tax credit 72% 70% 80%
Encourage mortgage loan modification that reduce principal balances 70% 61% 74%
Maintain the mortgage interest deduction at current levels 67% 69% 68%
Raise the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac conforming loan limit 46% 40% 51%
  • Has the housing market recovered? Americans will believe it when they see it: Tangible evidence that people can see in their neighborhoods has a bigger impact on consumer perception than price trends and market conditions that make it easier for people to buy a home. Americans said fewer defaults and foreclosures (47 percent), more home sales (38 percent) and fewer vacant homes (32 percent) are the top indicators that will give them confidence that the housing market is back on track.
Top 5 Indicators That Will Give Americans
Confidence About The Housing Market
Fewer defaults and foreclosures 47%
More home sales 38%
Fewer vacant homes 32%
Lower mortgage rates 25%
Rising homeownership rates 23%

NOTE: Survey respondents were allowed to select up to three responses out of 10 options.

  • Housing May Be President Obama's Achilles' Heel During 2012 Elections: Currently, 57 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of Republicans believe housing will hurt President Obama's chance of reelection. With the U.S. economy still struggling, over half of Americans (54 percent) are not at all confident that the President can stabilize the housing market in the next 12 months. This is a notable increase since he took office in 2009(1) when only 32 percent shared this sentiment. With the 2012 elections looming, this may be the Obama administration's chance to turn things around and how the President handles housing issues will be critical to his campaign.
Americans Not At All Confident that President Obama Can
Stabilize The Housing Market Within The Next Year
2009 2011 Change
All Respondents 32% 54% +22
Republicans 57% 87% +30
Democrats 10% 31% +21

PRE-APPROVED QUOTES

  • "Recovery in the housing market depends on consumer confidence, and lowering defaults and foreclosures is key to rebuilding that confidence. However, Americans won't believe our economy is improving until they see real proof. As long as there are foreclosed homes and lingering for-sale signs in neighborhoods across the country, people are faced with constant, everyday reminders that the housing market is still struggling," said Jed Kolko, Trulia's Chief Economist. "Foreclosed homes -- especially if they're vacant -- drag down neighboring home values. Even people in strong financial shape who have kept up with their mortgage payments share the pain if their neighbors have lost their homes."

  • "The partisan split in Washington and the recent housing policy debates are not what Americans want from their government. Democrats and Republicans both think that the government should encourage homeownership and that the housing crisis will hurt Obama's re-election chances," said Jed Kolko, Trulia's chief economist. "Although Washington and lobbyists have been debating the conforming loan limit, Americans would rather see more action to make refinancing easier and to deal with vacant homes."

MULTIMEDIA

  • To watch to a replay of Trulia's Chief Economist Jed Kolko discussing the results of the survey and other insights into the real estate market (available after 12/14), click here.
  • To download Jed's presentation of the survey findings, click here.
  • To download an infographic illustrating the survey findings, click here.
  • To check out Trulia's current and archived industry reports and consumer surveys, click here.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY
For complete survey methodologies, click here.

ABOUT TRULIA, INC.
Trulia is the fastest growing online real estate resource, empowering buyers, seller and renters with smarter tools to help them find the right home. Trulia gives you the inside scoop to help you find the best place to live. Our smart and personalized real estate search experience brings together vital local information, community insights, market data and national listings all in one place. Trulia is headquartered in downtown San Francisco and is backed by Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.

ABOUT HARRIS INTERACTIVE
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us -- and our clients -- stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

(1) Conducted online by Harris Interactive for Trulia from February 20-24, 2009. See methodology below.

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