Ultimate Open House

Voters Place High Value on Homeownership, Oppose Policies That Make It More Difficult to Own a Home


By an overwhelming margin, American voters strongly value homeownership and would oppose efforts to weaken or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction or diminish a federal role to help qualified home buyers obtain affordable 30-year mortgages, according to a new nationwide survey gauging likely voters’ attitudes towards homeownership and housing policy issues.

“The American electorate is sending a clear message that owning a home remains a cornerstone of the American Dream and preserving a federal commitment to homeownership is essential to maintain a thriving middle class and get housing and the economy back on track,” said Neil Newhouse, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies.

Conducted on Jan. 2-5 on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders by the Republican and Democratic polling firms of Public Opinion Strategies in Alexandria, Va., and Lake Research Partners in Washington, D.C., the comprehensive survey of 1,500 likely voters includes data from key political “swing areas,” including National Journal political analyst Charlie Cook’s swing House and Senate seats and Stuart Rothenberg’s presidential swing states. The survey, which has a margin of error of ±2.5 percent, is a follow-up to a similar national poll conducted last May.

The poll shows that three out of four voters – both owners and renters — believe it is appropriate and reasonable for the federal government to provide tax incentives to promote homeownership. This sentiment cuts across regional and party lines, with 84 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Independents agreeing with this statement.

Also, two-thirds of respondents say that the federal government should help home buyers to afford a long-term or 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage.

Moreover, 73 percent of voters oppose eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. These figures held firm across the political spectrum, with 77 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Independents against doing away with the mortgage interest deduction.

Meanwhile, 68 percent would be less likely to vote for a congressional candidate who proposed to abolish the deduction, a figure that was virtually identical across all party affiliations (69 percent of Independents and 68 percent of Democrats and Republicans).

A majority of voters are also against proposals to reduce the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate the deduction for interest paid for a second home, limit the deduction for those earning more than $250,000 per year, scale back the deduction for home owners with mortgages above $500,000 and do away with the deduction for interest paid on home equity loans.

“With the 2012 election season in full swing, candidates running for the White House and Congress would be wise to heed the will of the American voters, who have expressed broad support for government policies that encourage homeownership and oppose efforts to make it more difficult to get a home loan and to tamper with the mortgage interest deduction,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners.

Among the poll’s other key findings:

  • 96 percent of home owners are happy with their decision to own and 84 percent who are “underwater,” or owe more on their mortgages than their home is worth, expressed the same sentiment.
  • 79 percent of home owners would advise a family member or close friend just starting out to buy a home, and 69 percent of those who are underwater on their mortgage would offer the same advice.
  • 74 percent said that despite the ups and downs in the housing market, owning a home is the best long-term investment they can make.
  • Homeownership and a retirement savings program are considered by voters to be their best long-term investments.
  • 78 percent of respondents said that owning their own home is very important to them.
  • Nearly seven out of 10 voters who are not currently home owners (68 percent) said it was a goal of theirs to buy a home.
  • Job uncertainty and saving for a downpayment and closing costs are the biggest barriers to buying a home.

The survey findings are consistent with the results of other public opinion surveys. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted in June, 89 percent said that homeownership is an important part of the American Dream and more than 90 percent indicated that it is important for the federal government to continue the mortgage interest deduction.

According to a Pew Research Study conducted last March, 81 percent of respondents agree that buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make and 81 percent of renters surveyed said they would like to buy a house.

“Even in a down housing market, homeownership remains a core American value, with the vast majority of citizens who do not currently own a home saying they want to buy a home,” said Bob Nielsen, president of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder from Reno, Nev. “Those running for office in November need to understand that voters will not look kindly on any candidates who seek to dismantle the nation’s long-term commitment to homeownership.”

Poll results can be downloaded at www.nahb.org/homeownershippoll.

29 Percent of Renters and 19 Percent of Homeowners Are Considering Buying a Home in the Next Two Years


Despite the recession and declines in home prices, Americans still view homeownership as being important to the economy and the American family, according to the “Housing 360 Survey” conducted by Hanley Wood Products.

The survey found that despite the recession and housing crisis, homeownership is still very important—that both renters and homeowners feel it is a good time to buy a home and 19 percent of homeowners and 29 percent of renters are considering buying a home in the next two years. In fact, the survey findings support that up to two million potential home buying consumers are waiting to jump into the market when the time is right.

Walk through – from your home!


The Ultimate Open House is a feast for home-show gourmets.  

You can taste a little of everything, from classic Portland homes (with the benefit of the most up-to-date energy saving equipment) to contemporary suburban styling to urban condos.

And one of the best features is that you can do a lot of sampling from your home.  First, visit the home listing page. Check out the map to see the array of locations featuring Ultimate Open House homes.

Then focus on a neighborhood you like – or just check out a random sample of houses by clicking on the red boxes on the map.

You’ll see a photo of the house, and if you click on the blue link with the house or condo name, you’ll see more details.

One of the most entertaining features is the Virtual Walk Through . . . a series of interior and exterior shots that give you a feel for the sweet details of many of the homes.

Just move your cursor over the thumbnail photos.  You’ll get a good idea of the layout of the kitchen and the texture of the bathroom counters, the layout of the dining room and how a decorator has made the living room both stylish and comfortable.

Then plot your course for the day – or for the whole weekend. Find the homes you like and check them out in person.

And don’t forget the $800 credit, courtesy of the homebuilder, for the first 10 buyers of homes with natural gas furnaces and water heaters!

There’s something for folks with every type of taste and home-buying budget at the Ultimate Open House.  Have fun – and bon appétit!

Now you’re cookin’



For many of us, the kitchen is the most important room in the house.

It’s where we prepare nurturing food for family and friends.  It’s where we share stories over cups of tea.  It’s where we plan celebratory feasts and make soup for a friend who’s down with a cold.

Because these rooms mean so much to us, many homebuilders install the highest quality appliances in the kitchen.  That usually means a gas range.   And you’ll see plenty of these at the new homes in this year’s Ultimate Open House.

Professional chefs love gas cooking for so many reasons.  They can adjust the heat precisely – and immediately. No waiting for the burner to heat up or cool down.

And you can use your gas range even in a power outage.  Enjoy your hot chocolate by candlelight.

So before you start your tour of the Ultimate Open House, check out this see how this local chef makes a delicious meal of wine braised chicken and mushrooms. Then plan on trying it yourself in your new home.


Enjoy your tour – and the many great meals in your future.

Out & About with Drew Carney


Did you catch the Ultimate Open House on the morning news today? If not click here to see what you missed.

Jim Chapman of Legend Homes on Out & About with Drew Carney KGW

Lizzy Giles of Energy Trust on Out & About with Drew Carney KGW

Handyman Bob


Did you catch Ultimate Open House Chairman Tom Liesy on the Handyman Bob radio program today?  No well click here to listen up and hear what you missed.

All blue – and barbecue, too


For two weekends in May, you’ll have the chance to tour new homes in The Ultimate Open House Tour, looking at the latest products from outstanding Oregon homebuilders.   While you’re making your way through this great array of houses – condos, town homes and beautiful single family houses – plan some time for a relaxing meal.

NW Natural invites you to meet the homebuilders while you enjoy a barbecue lunch – on us.

May 15: 1 – 4 p.m.    Co-sponsored by Legend Homes and Polygon Homes: at 10488 SW Barber St. in Wilsonville

May 21: 1 – 4 p.m.  Co-sponsored by Arbor Custom Homes:  6446 NW 165th Ave., Portland

May 22: 1 – 4 p.m.  Co-sponsored by T.A. Liesey Homes:  13064 SE Verlie St., Happy Valley.

We’re always happy to partner with these homebuilders.  Not only do they build quality homes, they constantly look for ways to help homebuyers save money, save energy and increase comfort.

That’s why they go blue – building homes with appliances featuring the familiar blue flame. Our partner builders are happy to answer questions about natural gas appliances or any other aspect of their new homes.

The Ultimate Open House kicks off the annual home-buying season. It’s also the start of grilling season – so we think a barbecue lunch at an Ultimate Open House home is a perfect combination.

So enjoy your visit to the Ultimate Open House. And when you get hungry for some food and conversation, stop by one of these three host homes.  We’ll see you there!

Bike to the Ultimate Open House


The Home Builders Association supports green living and a healthy lifesyle. Anyone who rides their bike to visit a UOH home may enter themselves into a drawing to recieve a 1975 era Fuji Dynamic 10 Road bike complete with Fujita leather saddle, Suntour components and downtube shifters or a Timbuktu Messenger bag courtesy of Clean It Up Mark.

Enter by riding to any home on the Tour, looking for the red enter to win bag and droping your name into the bag or take a picture of you and your bike in front of a Tour Home, then e mail to mark@cleanitupmark.com.

Learn more at www.uoh2011cycling.com.

Comfort, efficiency – and a year’s worth of free heat


Hello from your friends at the gas company.

One of our favorite events of the year is the Ultimate Open House – a great idea from the Home Builders Association. This unique home show offers you a wide selection of styles, neighborhoods and prices so you can get a sense of the many options available in the Greater Portland area today.

And you can see and learn a lot about them without ever leaving your home.  (Stay tuned to this blog for a description of the virtual tour in a few weeks).

One thing that many of the Open House homes have in common is natural gas.  In fact, all the homes certified by third-parties (like LEED and Energy Star) have high-efficiency gas equipment.  In addition to gas furnaces and water heaters, many have gas cooktops, clothes dryers, fireplaces and backyard grills all fueled by natural gas.

Customers tell us they prefer gas for the comfort, convenience and affordability factor.  This year, there’s another reason to buy a gas home.

If you are one of the first 10 people to buy an Ultimate Open House home with a natural gas furnace and water heater, you’ll receive a credit on your gas bill of $800 courtesy of the home’s builder.  That’s about one year’s worth of natural gas for the average home.

So when you’re checking out these new homes, check out the appliances. Then check out the terms of this great offer.

Imagine how you’ll like the convenience of gas cooking; the immediate warmth of a gas fireplace and the comfort of a high-efficiency gas fireplace.  Then imagine all that without a gas bill for a year.

Enjoy this great home tour – and best of luck finding the perfect fit.

Study Shows Americans Favor Walkable Neighborhoods


Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with 56% of respondents preferring smart growth neighborhoods over neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation. That’s according to a recent study, the Community Preference Survey, by the National Association of REALTORS®.

“REALTORS® care about improving communities through smart growth initiatives,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Our members don’t just sell homes, they sell neighborhoods. REALTORS® understand that different home buyers are looking for all kinds of neighborhood settings and that many home buyers want walkable, transit-accessible communities.”

Walkable communities are defined as those where shops, restaurants and local businesses are within walking distance from homes.

According to the survey, when considering a home purchase, 77% of respondents said they would look for neighborhoods with abundant sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly features, and 50% would like to see improvements to existing public transportation rather than initiatives to build new roads and developments.

The survey also revealed that while space is important to home buyers, many are willing to sacrifice square footage for less driving. Eighty percent of those surveyed would prefer to live in a single-family, detached home as long as it didn’t require a longer commute, but nearly three out of five of those surveyed—59%—would choose a smaller home if it meant a commute time of 20 minutes or less.

The survey also found that community characteristics are very important to most people. When considering a home purchase, 88% of respondents placed more value on the quality of the neighborhood than the size of the home, and 77% of those surveyed want communities with high-quality schools.

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