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New Study Suggests Affordable Housing Will be Election Issue

May 24, 2004

WASHINGTON– Two out of three Americans are so concerned about the cost of housing in their communities that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who works to make housing more affordable, according to the second National Housing Opportunity Pulse, a national survey released today by the National Association of REALTORS®.

"Our latest survey found that, despite all of the other concerns America faces, affordable housing ranks as voters' third greatest concern, just behind health care and the economy," said NAR President Walt McDonald, owner of Walt McDonald Real Estate, Riverside, Calif. "Moreover, our survey found that the issue is growing in importance. More voters are worried about the cost of housing today and what it means for their families and their communities than they were just nine months ago."

The survey found that 81 percent of voters would like to see government place a higher priority on making housing more affordable for renters and homeowners alike.

By a wide margin, Americans support the construction of more affordable housing, both rental and ownership, in their communities if the housing fits in with the area. Three out of four Americans are concerned about the impact the rising cost of housing has on teachers, firemen, police and others on whom communities depend, and 70 percent support the construction of affordable homes for these public employees.

Most Americans also worry that their children and grandchildren will not be able to afford to live close to them (53 percent) and that the cost of a home is getting so unaffordable that it is hurting their local economy (59 percent).

The first National Housing Opportunity Pulse survey released in September 2003 also showed that a majority of respondents (56 percent) felt that the cost of a home was getting so unaffordable it was hurting their local economy. In that survey, 69 percent of voters gave their federal elected officials a grade of "C" for not working to improve the availability of affordable housing.

"Now we are entering the height of the political campaign season. Soon the national conventions will be upon us, and then, the final stretch for the presidency and the new Congress. Those elected in November will be in a position to decide the fate of affordable housing. Our new survey makes it clear that voters are going to take their concerns about affordable housing into the voting booths with them. All of us want to see our communities offer more housing opportunities and this election season we will work hard for those candidates who agree with us," McDonald said.

The National Housing Opportunity Pulse survey of 1,000 urban and suburban residents in the top 25 media markets was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies April 6 through 8. To view Housing Survey results, go to http://www.realtor.org/newsmedia.

Source: The National Association of REALTORS



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