Seven in 10 renters believe owning a home is a priority for their future. This is according to the 2011 National Housing Pulse Surveyrecently released by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which said more renters than ever (72 percent) aspire to homeownership, up from 63 percent in 2010.

“It’s no surprise that most renters eventually want to become homeowners,” said Allan ‘Dutch’ Dechert, New Jersey Association of REALTORS® (NJAR®) President. “They realize the long-term value of owning a home, as well as the safety and stability that go along with it.”

Similar to previous years, the survey also found an overwhelming majority (72 percent) of Americans said buying a home is a good financial decision. In addition, almost two-thirds (64 percent) thought that now is a good time to buy a home. When asked why homeownership matters to them, respondents cited stability and safety as the top reason. Long-term economic reasons such as building equity followed closely behind.

“Homeownership strengthens communities by improving education and supporting neighborhood upkeep,” said Dechert. “Owning a home is also one of the best ways to build long-term wealth and it also offers homeowners savings during tax time.”

One of those savings is the mortgage interest deduction (MID). NJAR® believes the MID is vital to the stability of the housing market and economy, and so do a majority of Americans. The Pulse Survey found respondents were adamantly against eliminating the MID. Two-thirds of Americans oppose eliminating the tax benefit, while 73 percent believe eliminating the MID will have a negative impact on the housing market as well as the overall economy.

“The MID facilitates homeownership by reducing the carrying costs of owning a home, and can mean significant savings for homeowners,” said Dechert. “REALTORS® are working hard to make sure that any changes to current programs or incentives don’t jeopardize our collective futures.”

Closer to home, survey respondents identified people falling behind on their mortgages and the drop in home values as critical concerns in local housing markets. Foreclosures also continue to be a large concern. However, the survey also found that respondents were less concerned about the number of homes and condos for sale than in previous years.

The 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program. The telephone survey was among 1,250 adults nationwide, with an oversample of interviews of those living in the 25 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.