Home Ownership – The American Dream

American Attitudes About Homeownership is a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the National Association of Realtors. The findings of this survey combined with the findings of Fannie Mae’s November National Housing Survey and last week’s Gallup Poll paint a clear picture that the majority of Americans still value homeownership and believe in its benefits. In the latest survey, America’s belief in owning a home came through loud and clear.

Here are a few of the findings:

Homeowners and renters agree that owning a home is a positive choice. A majority of homeowners and a sizable percentage of renters agree or strongly agree that owning a home provides a healthy and stable environment for raising a family (87 percent among homeowners and 64 percent among renters), that it helps them meet long-term financial goals (77 percent among homeowners and 55 percent among renters) and it helps them realize the American Dream (70 percent among homeowners and 48 percent among renters).

Most homeowners (95 percent) and renters (72 percent) believe that over a period of several years, it makes more sense to own a home than to rent.

More than 8 in 10 homeowners (82 percent) and half of renters (50 percent) would prefer to buy a home if they had to move in the next six months. Furthermore, 78 percent of homeowners consider now a good time to buy as do 58 percent of renters.

Homeownership is viewed as a positive experience while less so for renting. Eighty-eight percent of current homeowners report that owning a home has been a positive or very positive experience. About half of renters (51 percent) consider their experience as positive or very positive.

Many renters aspire to homeownership. More than 6 in 10 renters are at least somewhat likely to purchase a home in the future and 24 percent indicate that they are extremely likely. Among young adult renters, 74 percent say they are likely to buy at some point in the future. About one-third (35 percent) of renters plan to purchase a home in the next 3 to 5 years (43 percent among young adult renters).

More about the non-financial benefits of homeownership

We have argued for some time that the benefits of homeownership are more than just financial. This survey addressed this point and reported:

A larger share of homeowners than renters describe their communities as safe and stable. Homeowners also report that they are more satisfied with their community and family life. While many factors contribute to a positive community environment, a large percentage of homeowners and renters believe a high rate of homeownership is one factor. Homeowners generally feel more connected to their communities, participate in community and civic activities more frequently and are more likely to know their neighbors well.

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