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.
To see the full results of the NFCC poll, read the entire NFCC announcement.