Would-be Homeowners: You Can't Always Get What You Want

           Would-be Homeowners: You Can't Always Get What You Want

COUNTRY Survey: Less Than Half Say Home Ownership is Attainable for Middle

PR Newswire

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Nov. 14, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Is home ownership still an
attainable American dream? According to a new COUNTRY Financial Security
Index^® survey, while a vast majority (88 percent) of Americans think owning
their own home is important, less than half (45 percent) say home ownership is
attainable for middle-income families. Further, just 43 percent say buying a
home is the best investment a family can make.

Nevertheless, a majority of Americans (53 percent) think it is better to own
than rent. Only 25 percent say renting is better than owning, and 22 percent
are unsure which is best. Most renters also dream of home ownership, but many
are wary of the investment.

  oNearly three-quarters (72 percent) of renters say it's important for them
    to own a home.
  oHowever, just 32 percent of renters feel it is the best investment a
    family can make.

Americans do seem to have an optimistic outlook on the housing market, though,
as 71 percent expect home values to go up or stay about the same over the next
five years.

"Home ownership is important for Americans, but the market's slow recovery
might be causing them to doubt its value. However, Americans are confident
about future home values," says Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security
support at COUNTRY Financial. "As mortgage lenders tighten their requirements,
home ownership might seem unattainable. Ensuring you're able to meet your
monthly obligations and have a good credit score will help in turning a dream
of home ownership into reality."

Watch an interview with Troy Frerichs, senior investment officer at COUNTRY
Financial, about the recovering housing market with tips for Americans looking
to buy a home at www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com.

Skepticism Varies with Age
Younger Americans are more likely to think owning a home is attainable but not
necessarily a good investment, while older Americans say the opposite.

                             18-29     30-39     40-49     50-64     65+

                             Years Old Years Old Years Old Years Old Years Old
Think owning a home is
attainable for a typical     49%       50%       45%       43%       36%
middle-income family
Think buying a home is the
best investment families can 37%       37%       44%       48%       51%

Mortgage Gap Persists
Regarding their mortgage, 65 percent say they wouldn't be able to make
payments after nine months if they lost their job. This is down four points
from 2011, but remains shorter than the current average unemployment length of
nearly 10 months*.

High-income earners say they can maintain their mortgage payments for longer
than middle- to low-income groups in the event of job loss. However, more than
half of those earning $75,000 to $100,000 (65 percent) and those earning more
than $100,000 (51 percent) still could not pay their mortgage beyond the
current average unemployment length.

"Although the housing and job market may be recovering, there's still a sense
of uncertainty. No matter your age or income, a commitment to growing your
savings can help ensure life's unexpected changes don't prevent you from
meeting your financial obligations and goals," adds Buhrmann. "The key is
getting started."

*According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The COUNTRY survey on home ownership is based on a national telephone and
online survey of 3,000 Americans and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC
(www.rasmussenreports.com), an independent research firm.

COUNTRY Financial (http://www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million
households and businesses throughout the United States.It offers a full range
of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to
retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.


Website: http://www.countryfinancial.com
Contact: Emily Reed, +1-312-397-6056, emily.reed@ogilvy.com, Chris Brooks,
+1-309-821-4510, chris.n.brooks@countryfinancial.com, Ogilvy Public Relations
COUNTRY Financial
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