Occasional clashes over questionable grass-mowing technique or noisy neighbors notwithstanding, according to the 2020 Homeowner Satisfaction Survey, a new report conducted by the Foundation for Community Association Research (FCAR) for Community Associations Institute (CAI) finds that an overwhelming majority - 89% - of people living in condo associations rate their overall experience living in a community association as either “very good” (40%), “good” (30%), or “neutral” (19%).
The joint survey is administered every other year, and overseen by independent researcher Zogby Analytics. According to Dawn M. Bauman, FCAR’s executive director and CAI’s senior vice president for government, it is “sourced by lawmakers, legal professionals, homebuilders, developers, and other community association stakeholders,” with the purpose of gathering data and insight on how the 73.5 million Americans who live in common-interest communities (which, according to CAI includes everything from “city-sized, master-planned communities and multi-building condominium complexes to urban cooperatives and small homeowners associations built into tracks of open suburban spaces”) think of and feel about the places they call home.
According to a CAI statement on the survey results, “Nearly nine in 10 residents (89%) believe that their governing board ‘absolutely’ or ‘for the most part’ serves the best interest of the community. The vast majority of residents (94%) believe that rules in their communities protect and enhance property values (71%) or have a neutral effect (23%). Only 4% say the rules harm their property values.”
The report indicates that cleanliness/attractiveness, safety, maintenance-free living, and maintaining property values are perceived as the best aspects of living in a community association; restrictions on exterior home improvements and paying assessments are the biggest perceived drawbacks.
These numbers are actually not surprising, given the overwhelming consistency of the survey’s results over the years. The results from the same survey in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 were nearly identical; in fact, this year’s survey showed an increase in three areas compared to 2018. According to CAI, “Satisfaction results grew an impressive 4% in overall experience, 5% in the role of the board, and 4% in the appreciation of community association rules.”
“The new research further strengthens our belief that community associations bring people together and create a place where neighbors grow, connect, and support each other in good and challenging times,” said CAI CEO Thomas M. Skiba. “...[M]illions of dedicated homeowners volunteer and serve on their association boards, and...professional managers work tirelessly to support neighborhoods where people are proud to call home. Tough business and operating decisions are being made daily, and it is the commitment by these individuals that highlight the positive attributes of the community association housing model.”
And while occasional disagreements and conflicts are inevitable in even the most harmonious community, the report shows that 89% of residents are on friendly terms with their governing boards. 74% say their community managers provide value and support to residents and their associations, most respondents (62%) feel that they are paying “just the right amount” - or even “too little” - in monthly assessments.
According to Bauman, “The biennial Homeowner Satisfaction Survey...emphasizes the clear success of the community association housing model,” and “provides clear evidence of the success of local governance— neighbors electing neighbors and building community together—responsibly and effectively.”
Click here for the full 2020 Homeowner Satisfaction Survey.