Owning your own home used to be the great American dream, and even though many people still aspire to this, their numbers are fewer. Today some 64% of Americans feel they are less likely to build wealth through owning a property compared to twenty or thirty years earlier, and 43% believe purchasing a home is no longer a good long-term investment.
According to the article in CNN.com, the research was carried out by Hart Research Associates and was a survey of 1,355 adults. It showed more are willing to consider alternative housing options. Interestingly, the majority of those surveyed thought renting a home was more appealing than buying, and considered renters to be just as successful as home owner.
Figures from the Census Bureau show home ownership rates dropped to their lowest level in nearly twenty years during the first quarter of this year. Their data shows that only 36% of Americans aged 35 or under own a home, compared to 42% in 2007. This is the lowest level since 1982 which is when the bureau first began tracking home ownership rates according to age. Tighter lending conditions and student debt has made it much tougher for this age group to purchase a home, as many simply cannot raise the 20% down payment required, while others do not have good enough credit scores. Even though the recent housing crisis has meant prices have declined by up to 20% in many areas, the number of properties has declined significantly in many areas. Those who do wish to buy, and who are able to do so tend to move quickly when something good does come up for sale.
Historically, owning your home has been an integral part of the American dream, but the recent housing crisis has altered people’s views. Even though the general consensus is that the housing market is recovering, many Americans are not convinced. Some 70% still believe the housing crisis is ongoing, while 20% think things will get worse. Their views may be shaped by the fact that so many were impacted by the crisis and are still struggling to recover. More than half of those surveyed had to take on an additional job or some form of part time work in order to get by. The same numbers had to stop putting money by for retirement or ended up accumulating credit card debt, or were forced to cut back on health coverage in order to afford mortgage payments during the last few years.