Owning a home is still the foundation of the American Dream, according to a Coldwell Banker survey released Tuesday. This may be akin to Major League Baseball releasing a survey that baseball is still America’s pastime, but the study attempts to explore Americans’ shifting attitudes toward home ownership in the wake of the recession.
Ninety-one percent of respondents said that owning a home is part of the American Dream, while 83 percent of renters said that they hope to own a house someday. Despite the economic challenges wrought by the recession and the collapse of the housing market, 94 percent of homeowners said they are glad they own a home.
The prolonged economic downturn has forced people, particularly Millennials, to delay life events that are at the heart of the American Dream, such as getting married, starting a family, and owning a home. Which may be why, in a Millionaire Corner survey conducted earlier this year in which we asked people for their definition of the American Dream, “owning a home” ranked fourth behind “equal opportunity,” “having sufficient retirement assets,” and “educational opportunities.”
According to the Coldwell Banker survey, 84 percent of Americans said that more people took owning a home for granted before the recession, while nearly three-quarters (72 percent) said they feel like Americans have a greater respect for it now than they did before the economic downturn. Seventy-nine percent said that the recession has caused society to rethink the concept of homeownership, while 75 percent said that there has been an over-emphasis in the financial value of a home rather than the emotional value of a home.
Indeed, across all wealth levels surveyed by Millionaire Corner, the biggest lesson learned from the economic downturn was that their home was not a stable financial asset.
Back to the Coldwell Banker survey, 79 percent of American adults indicated the recession has caused society to rethink the concept of homeownership, which is only natural in the wake of amajor fallout like the financial downturn, observed psychotherapist Robi Ludwig, who partnered with Coldwell Banker on the survey, in statement. “So it makes sense that the survey shows that we are-rethinking what passed for conventional wisdom during the ‘boom years.’ Instead of taking things for granted, people are protective of their jobs, homes and futures. Instead of looking at homes through the eyes of an economist, we’re realizing that a home doesn’t solely equate to financial return of measure only to a mortgage amount. Instead, the home is the emotional center of our lives, and it remains a critical component of who we are.”
The survey found that 78 percent of homeowners said that owning a home is one of their greatest achievements, while 85 percent agreed that they always dreamed of owning a home.”
And they want that for the next generation as well. Ninety-five percent of parents/legal guardians said it is important for their children to own a home someday, while 74 percent feel its “absolutely essential” or “very important.”
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.