The 64 percent that said it is a good time to buy is just shy of the 66 percent that said the same thing in 2003 as the U.S. housing market was racing higher, said the survey. However, most of the 3,451 polled said that it would be tougher for them to get a loan than it was for their parents.
The survey comes amid signs that the U.S. housing market is recovering after suffering the worst downturn since the 1930s. But, while home prices in some regions are rising, soaring delinquency rates across the nation mean foreclosures will keep persistent pressure on the market, according to analysts.
Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. mortgage finance company, said that the public still "strongly believes" in upholding their financial commitments, though that weakens once people know someone who is defaulting.
Those who know someone in default are more than twice as likely to have seriously considered stopping payments on their own mortgage, Fannie Mae said.
Nearly nine in ten Americans, including seven in ten who are delinquent on their own mortgages, do not believe it is acceptable for people to stop making payments on an underwater mortgage, while eight percent believe it is acceptable.
Concerning the home as an investment, seven out of ten respondents (70 percent) said they believe buying a home continues to be one of the safest investments available. This compares to 74 percent who think putting money into a bank account (money market or savings account) is safe. In contrast, only 17 percent believe buying stocks is a safe investment.