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by Robert DeFalco
on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 at 12:40pm.
Americans are real fickle bunch, giving off mixed signals at every corner. When it comes to homeownership, for example, most Americans firmly believe that buying a home is a still a solid investment (and it is). However, they also think we’re still in the middle of major crisis. Even with unemployment at 5.5 percent (it was nearly 10 percent at the height of the recession) and with economists agreeing that the housing market continues to rebound, the MacArthur Foundation recently reported that 41 percent of Americans think we’re still in crisis mode. Further, the housing survey also found that 20 percent feel the worst is yet to come. These people who are rushing to hide their savings in their mattress, paradoxically enough, believe that purchasing a home is an excellent long-term investment: 56 percent to be exact.
Notwithstanding this inexplicable contradiction, Americans largely remain positive and aspirational about home ownership. In fact, a whopping 70 percent of renters desire to own, and millennials in particular consider homeownership a high priority—53 percent compared to 43 percent for the total population. Naturally, affordability is a major issue that continues to hamper homeowners, both present and aspirational. For example, over half of Americans have had to sacrifice to to pay their housing bills as rents, and home prices continue to rise sharper than wages. Both policymakers and the public are undecided on what to do about it, according to Geoffrey Garin, president of Hart Research, which conducted the poll.
“From a public policy perspective, there’s been a lot of conversation about how do you make college more affordable, there’s been a focus on making healthcare more affordable, but there’s not been a similar conversation about housing,” Garin said. “What Americans are telling us through this research is that the absence of the discussion about housing is a substantial lapse. It deserves the same level of attention that the cost of education and the cost of health care deserve.” (Redfin)