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Trillions spent on propping up banks, buying mortgages, tax credits and new programs designed to lower payments and prevent foreclosures. And yet a new survey from Move Inc., the parent of Realtor.com, says Americans are growing increasingly dissatisfied with how Washington is handling the housing mess.
The October 2009 survey found that the federal government’s approval rating by consumers on housing issues has slipped since March 2009. By a six-percent margin, Americans said they don’t think the government is doing enough to stabilize the housing market (48.2% compared to 42.2% five months ago). According to the survey, consumers still want low interest rates (31.4%) and action by the government to help homeowners prevent foreclosures (28.5%), the same two top priorities expressed by survey respondents in March.
The survey found that public participation in the programs to prevent foreclosures is much lower than anticipated. In March 2009, several days after the details of the Making Home Affordable program were announced; Move’s survey found that 17.6 percent of those interviewed said they intended to participate in the Administration’s program. Now only 8.8 percent said they actually did participate.
The number of consumers interested in investing in real estate has doubled since March. One out of eight (12.1%) homebuyers today plan to purchase a home as an investment property, compared to 5.6 percent seven months ago.
Fear of foreclosure is fading. In March 52.5 percent of all survey respondents said they were concerned that they or someone they know may face foreclosure in the next 6 to 12 months. That number dipped slightly to 45.1 percent in October.
The survey of 1,000 people was conducted the third week of October.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.