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Dick Turpin

Housing Tops Wish List of Young People

September 27, 1987|DICK TURPIN

If there is a constant factor in surveys on priority purchases among young people, real estate is at the top of the wish list.

There's always an exception or two, of course. Like someone whose top priority might be a Porsche.

But in case after case, whether the survey is done by the Gallup Poll or through a random sampling outside your favorite shopping center or a campus, the dream house most often ranks as No. 1.

Yet, since 1979, home ownership throughout the nation has declined by 7.9% as costs of homes escalated through the recent inflationary era.

The young desire a home but they can't afford it at today's prices, particularly in Southern California where the typical house--new or resale--can easily range upward of $20,000 more than its counterpart anywhere else in the country.

The aggressive Century 21 Real Estate Corp., announcing the results of a survey it commissioned the Gallup Poll to carry out this summer, reports that more respondents would prefer to invest in real estate than any other form of investment.

In telephone interviews with 1,026 adults, 18 years and older, pollsters found that 27.2% prefered real estate as their best investment bet. Those between 25 and 29 indicated an even stronger--45%--desire for home ownership.

Next in investment preference among all the participants were mutual funds, 18%; bank and savings and loan accounts, 16%; tax-exempt government bonds, 13%, money-market funds, 10%.

Sixty percent of the survey respondents believed that "now is a good time to purchase a home" while 57% expect interest rates, now hovering around 11% for 30-year fixed rates, to go even higher during the next 12 months, and 78% expect those rates to rise even more in the next few years.

Richard J. Loughlin, president of Century 21, says "These findings show that the real estate market is likely to remain healthy into 1988."

His firm's own data shows that among a score of the nation's most active markets, the Los Angeles metropolitan area ranks at the top in sales volume within the Century 21 fold. Chicago is second, the San Francisco Bay Area is third, Boston, fourth, Orange County, fifth. San Diego ranks ninth, Sacramento is 13th, and San Bernardino-Riverside counties rank 14th.

DeVere Anderson, president of the Building Industry Assn. of Southern California, hopes that HR 4, the pending congressional housing legislation, will help the cause of affordable housing.

The bill "is vital to first-time and middle-income buyers in Southern California due to the particularly high cost of housing here," he said. Such would-be buyers, presently unable to qualify for home loans, "would be helped by the increase of the FHA limit from the current $90,000 ceiling to the $101,250 ceiling proposed in HR4."

Very importantly, the bill provides for permanent insuring authority, eliminating the repeated and tedious need to have Congress extend--on a piecemeal, Mickey Mouse basis--FHA's ability to insure properties being purchased.

The legislation would also prohibit user fees, retain the FHA investor loan program and continue the funding of housing and community development programs of the Department of Housing and Urban Development at current levels.

During October and November, housing subcommittees of the Senate and the House will hold hearings to decide the issue, one that can help solve housing problems for thousands of first-time buyers.

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