Century 21 survey suggests many Americans would cut back in other areas to buy their “dream home

A new survey from Century 21 looks at what other purchases Americans would be willing to sacrifice in order to afford their “dream home”:

69 percent of homeowners who don’t own what they described as their “dream home” would be willing to make sacrifices to their personal lifestyle to be financially able to purchase it. Non-homeowners are more willing to make sacrifices, and 80 percent indicated they are willing to make changes to their personal lifestyle in order to be financially able purchase their dream home, including:

  • 50 percent: would cut back on dining out,
  • 49 percent: would cut back on their shopping for non-essential items (e.g.,
    clothing, accessories, gadgets, etc.),
  • 47 percent: would give up luxuries (e.g., expensive cable packages, trips to the
    salon, etc.),
  • 39 percent: would cut back on vacations, and
  • 10 percent would contribute less to their 401(k) in order to be able to purchase
    their dream home.

This suggests buying a home is still an important priority for many Americans. At the same time, the questions don’t really get at how much people might be willing to cut back (5% on dining out? 50%), how this compares to other purchases (would people say similar things if they were asked about purchasing a new car or some other big purchase), and how much people would need to cut back if they bought a house (there could be a big difference here if people bought a $220k home versus a $450k home). Also, I’m curious about that 50% that wouldn’t cut back on dining out or the 61% who wouldn’t cut back on vacations; do they not need to or would they seriously not do so in order to buy a dream house?

Another note: this was a web survey.

Harris Interactive® fielded the study on behalf of Mullen Communications from April 24-26, 2012, via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service, interviewing 2,213 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older, of which 1,416 are homeowners and 734 are renters. This data was weighted to reflect the composition of the general adult population. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

Two issues here: this was not a random sample (hence the need for weighting) and if there can’t be any estimates of the sampling error, how trustworthy are the results?

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