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American Voters Value Homeownership

By Cody Lee, President, Anchorage Home Builders Association

For generations of Americans, owning your home meant owning your future and building a sense of stability, pride and accomplishment. Even with the economic turmoil of the past few years, Americans remain committed to the American Dream of homeownership. And if politicians seeking to reduce the deficit by reducing or eliminating government incentives to own a home had any doubt, a recent survey of likely voters proves it.

The nationwide survey shows that, by an overwhelming margin, American voters say they strongly value homeownership and would oppose efforts to weaken or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction or diminish a federal role to help qualified home buyers obtain affordable 30-year mortgages.

The comprehensive survey of 1,500 likely voters was conducted in January 2012 on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders by the Republican and Democratic polling firms of Public Opinion Strategies in Alexandria, Va., and Lake Research Partners in Washington, D.C. The survey, which gauged likely voters’ attitudes towards homeownership and housing policy issues, is a follow-up to a similar national poll conducted in May 2011.

Three out of four voters – both owners and renters – believe it is appropriate and reasonable for the federal government to provide tax incentives to promote homeownership. This majority sentiment applied to Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.

The public doesn’t want the government to tamper with the incentives to own a home that are currently in place, either. A majority of voters are against proposals currently being considered by lawmakers to reduce the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate the deduction for interest paid for a second home, limit the deduction for those earning more than $250,000 per year, scale back the deduction for home owners with mortgages above $500,000 and do away with the deduction for interest paid on home equity loans.

Also, two-thirds of respondents say that the federal government should help home buyers to afford a long-term or 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage.

Showing that homeownership remains a core American value, 96 percent of poll respondents who own a home said they are happy with their decision to own, and 79 percent would advise a family member or close friend just starting out to buy a home.

The survey findings are consistent with the results of other public opinion surveys as well. A June, 2011, New York Times/CBS News poll found that 89 percent said that homeownership is an important part of the American Dream and more than 90 percent indicated that it is important for the federal government to continue the mortgage interest deduction.

For more information on the value of homeownership, and how you can join the fight to protect it, go to www.SaveMyMortgageInterestDeduction.com.

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