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|Genworth Financial Debuts The International Mortgage Trends Report|
RICHMOND, Va., June 10, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
A new global survey suggests that home buyers around the world are poised to re-enter the housing market, but property market instability and worries about their personal finances are holding them back.
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The International Mortgage Trends Report, commissioned by Genworth Financial and conducted by independent research firm RFI, is a new global survey of current and aspiring homebuyers aimed at gaining local insight into key world markets. More than 9,000 respondents across five continents in eight countries were interviewed. Countries surveyed were: Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States.
"As the world's only global mortgage insurer we saw an opportunity to examine global market forces influencing the decision to purchase a home," said Kevin D. Schneider, president of U.S. mortgage insurance for Genworth Financial. "We hope the findings in this report help to encourage a deeper understanding of the challenges that are likely to shape business strategies in the near to medium term as well as provide the mortgage industry in all markets with insights that help identify future opportunities for business growth."
Of the many factors that influence the decision to buy a home, consumer confidence is one of the most important. Survey responses indicated that concerns about the rising cost of living, property market instability and the impact of government-led austerity measures have eroded home buyer confidence in some countries, and have led consumers to adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Survey respondents in the United Kingdom, for example, say they will not actively enter the housing market this year. Some other key findings:
Key Country Findings
Due to affordability issues - high home prices, higher costs of living, or fear of rising interest rates - the average age of first-time home buyers has risen in all countries except India over the last 40 years. The average age at which a person in the U.S. was able to purchase a first home rose from 27.3 in the 1970s to 31.6 in the 2000s.
One aspect of the home buying process that appears to be universally recognized as a benefit in countering this trend is private mortgage insurance. In the U.S., 88 percent of survey respondents said private mortgage insurance helps them buy a home with a smaller down payment.
"There is no universal answer to the problem of housing affordability," Fraizer said, "but clear initiatives need to continually be developed to meet changing conditions and improve the opportunities so more people can realize their dream of home ownership. If this can be achieved there is good cause for optimism for the future of housing markets globally."
About Genworth Financial
Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 insurance holding company with more than $100 billion in assets that is dedicated to helping people secure their financial lives, families and futures. Genworth has leadership positions in offerings that assist consumers in protecting themselves, investing for the future and planning for retirement -- including life insurance, long term care insurance, financial protection coverages, and independent advisor-based wealth management -- and mortgage insurance that helps consumers achieve homeownership while assisting lenders in managing their risk and capital.
Genworth has approximately 6,500 employees and operates through three segments: Retirement and Protection, U.S. Mortgage Insurance and International. Its products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth Financial, which traces its roots back to 1871, became a public company in 2004 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. For more information, visit Genworth.com. From time to time, Genworth releases important information via postings on its corporate website. Accordingly, investors and other interested parties are encouraged to enroll to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new postings. Enrollment information is found under the "Investors" section of Genworth.com.