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by sitecore\kmcgrigg on July 06, 2011

Homeownership is fundamental to the American psyche.  Despite all the recent problems in the housing and mortgage industries, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that owning a home is still the American dream.

When asked the simple question, "Do you think that owning a home is still the American dream?," 81 percent of people who responded to MMI's recent Homeownership Survey answered, "yes."  In addition, 7 out of 10 people surveyed believe that owning a home is a good investment.

There's no doubt that pride in homeownership can be good for neighborhoods and communities; however, the strong tie between homeownership and the American "ideal" makes a hard situation harder for people struggling to stay in their homes.  Thankfully, there is a lot of help available to homeowners who are facing foreclosure.  For example, HUD recently launched the Emergency Homeownership Loan Program (EHLP) to help homeowners who have experienced a drop in income.

The survey also asked the 18 percent of respondents who do not think owning a home is still the American dream why they didn’t. Although there were a wide variety of answers, there were several common themes:

  • Owning a home is too expensive (58 comments – 30%)
  • There is more to the American dream than owning a house (43 comments – 22%)
  • Comments related to the economy (34 comments – 17%)
  • Owning a house is too much trouble/work (14 comments – 7%)

Here are some examples of what they said:

  • "You need to be able to afford and be responsible for a home. It’s not a right."
  • "Some people don't want to worry about maintaining a yard and everything else that comes along with home ownership. I would rather rent an apartment or condo where landscaping and building maintenance is included in the rent. It isn't something I want to worry about since I lead an active lifestyle and don't have time for those kinds of things."
  • "It's a leftover idea from another time. A person can possibly live a much more comfortable, stress-free lifestyle by renting."
  • "Debt experts are saying it’s overrated and that is the easiest way to get into uncontrolled debt."
  • "Because there is much more to the "American Dream" than just owning a home. Like your health, your family's well being and other things are of equal or greater importance."

What do you think?  Is owning a home your idea of the American dream?

The Homeownership Survey was conducted by Cynapsys and Russell Research from May 20 to 23, 2011 on behalf of Money Management International.  The survey was answered by 1,027 individuals.

Posted in:  Homeownership, Mortgages


20 and Engaged says:
July 07, 2011

I think it's still part of the American Dream if you hate moving and want your kids to have somewhere to come home to where they grew up. I just realize it'll take longer than I'd like.

Brandon says:
February 05, 2012

Most people still aspire to homeownership, based on our own surveys. But there has been another shift in perception. People no longer view real estate as an asset that always appreciates. It used to be viewed that way. Not so much anymore.

Anonymous says:
July 14, 2011

I think for some it is but for most just staying out of debt. It is hard enough keeping everything payed for.

Fneil says:
August 09, 2011

My husband and I have been trying for years to own our own home because we can leave our children something. Help us please.

Jane Ware says:
July 14, 2011

I think owning a home is overrated and has caused me more debt problems then I would have ever had if I would just have rented a low cost trailer or efficiency apartment. It depends on if you care about keeping up with the Jones'. I am investing my money in open land in the future because with the Chinese taking most of our lands, owning land will become more and more valuable over time. I plan to stay in my comfortable 350 dollar/month trailer, and save 60% of my money for land investment instead of wasting it on a home right now.

Kay says:
July 14, 2011

I think you should never give up on your dreams and if owning a home is what you want regardless of what others have to say about it, go for it. Just remember to live within your means. If you can afford a 300,000 home does mean you have to buy it. Why not shop around for 200,000 home instead and bank the extra money. BUDGET! Don't get caught up in this material world. I'm a home owner and I love it.

Melissa says:
July 14, 2011

I have dreamed of owning a home my entire life. I was raised in rentals, many rentals. And the dream for me was always to have one place to call home and to own it. It does take a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice. But I wouldn't trade it for anything! It is the one accomplishment that makes me so unbelievably proud of myself.

Raphael Dell says:
July 14, 2011

Home ownership is very much part of the American Dream for me. However, I'm concerned as to whether I can afford it sometime with the economy being so uncertain and jobs not paying that well. Owning a home has a lot more costs to it than just paying a mortgage each month.

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