The American Dream of Homeownership: Bloody but Unbowed

The American dream of homeownership has taken a serious hit in the past five years--or so you might think. No wonder, what with so many Americans pummeled by underwater properties and foreclosures. Even the government piled on, declaring in a February housing report: "The Administration believes that we must continue to help ensure that Americans have access to quality housing they can afford. This does not mean, however, that our goal is for all Americans to become homeowners."

But Americans are not so easily daunted. The idea of owning one's home is ingrained in our psyche, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The nationwide survey, conducted in March, asked more than 2,000 adults whether buying a home was the "best long-term investment a person can make." Around 8 out of 10 respondents, or 81 percent, agreed with that statement.

That level of optimism is pretty surprising, considering that in a related Pew Research survey, nearly half of 1,222 homeowners polled said their house is worth less now than before the recession started. In that same survey, 31 percent said their home was worth about the same, while only 17 percent said their home's value had grown.

Clearly, faith in the value of owning one's home is thus far unshakable. When Pew asked Americans to rank the importance of four long-term financial goals, homeownership came in first, narrowly beating out "being able to live comfortably in retirement." Go figure.

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The price of a new home today will not buy very much tomorrow. The falling value of the dollar will have an amazing effect in years to come. The dollar is falling so fast that the dollar amount required to buy a home today will only be enough to buy a car in years to come. The money required to buy that car will only buy food for the week. Because the dollar is simply worthless paper with nothing backing it, there may come a day when we are all millionaires eating hamburgers that cost $70. It is hard to say what a gallon of gas could cost. But, the point is, that big price tag on your dream home won't look very big years from now just as 20 cents does not seem like much money to pay for a gallon of gasoline back in 1946.

April 28 2011 at 12:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to byte312's comment

. Gross debt in nominal dollars quadrupled during the Reagan and Bush presidencies from 1980 to 1992. The net public debt quintupled in nominal terms.

In nominal dollars the net public debt rose and then fell between 1992 and 2000 from $3T in 1992 to $3.4T in 2000. During the administration of President George W. Bush, the gross public debt increased from $5.7 trillion in January 2001 to $10.7 trillion by December 2008.[3] Under President Barack Obama, the debt increased from $10.7 trillion to $14.2 trillion by February 2011.[9]

April 28 2011 at 9:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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April 28 2011 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sorry, all sold out.

April 26 2011 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


April 26 2011 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What you have seen in America is a massive transference of wealth from the middle and lower classes to the super wealthy ....This course will not sustain itself if you look through the pages of history , you can already feel the winds of revolution and dissent in the streets of the country , Spiraling food and fuel costs , rampant unemployment , zero healthcare, record foreclosures, and now impending enormous cuts to social security and medicare ....meanwhile the super rich and corporate elite have seen their incomes rise dramatically( and now have the GOP blessing of even more tax breaks )while the middle class american is shoved into poverty ......R.I.P. SAM ....I don't even recognize you anymore.

April 25 2011 at 2:41 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

This article is so full of double speak it is hard to comment on. There is a vast difference between homeownership and having quality housing. And the different results of those two surveys illustrate this. In the last few decades many towns and suburban areas have turned from homeownership to the idea of "bedroom" cities. The idea of permanance is gone. Holding a job in one area for longer than 5 years is gone. Our mentality has changed, as a result of this past recession, from ownership and investment to "renting" in one of its many forms when it comes to shelter. Another reason why investing in retirement has gained popularity over investing in the home or housing.

April 25 2011 at 10:17 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

change will be made only by force.... see whats happening around the world.... its changeing, by force only

April 25 2011 at 9:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

until americans demand that capital hill lives by the same rules we have to live by .. it will always be this way

April 25 2011 at 9:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

the problem will never be fixed until the american people march on them and demand it......

April 25 2011 at 9:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

they dont give one little **** about the people... its all about their own wallets

April 25 2011 at 9:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply