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Owning a home no longer the American Dream

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The American Dream is impossible to achieve in this country.  So say nearly 6 in 10 people who responded to CNNMoney's American Dream Poll, conducted by ORC International. They feel the dream -- however they define it -- is out of reach.

The American Dream is impossible to achieve in this country. So say nearly 6 in 10 people who responded to CNNMoney’s American Dream Poll, conducted by ORC International. They feel the dream — however they define it — is out of reach.

NEW YORK — The great American Dream is dying. Even though many Americans still desire to own a home, they are losing faith in homeownership as a key to prosperity.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans, or 64%, believe they are less likely to build wealth by buying a home today than they were 20 or 30 years ago, according to a survey sponsored by non-profit MacArthur Foundation. And nearly 43% said buying a home is no longer a good long-term investment.

“Americans no longer see homeownership as a secure path to building equity and wealth,” said Geoff Garin president of Hart Research Associates, which conducted the survey of 1,355 adults.

“That has made them more willing to think fresh about their housing options,” he said.

A majority of respondents said they believe renting is more appealing than buying — and that renters are just as likely to be successful financially as someone who owns a home.

During the first quarter, the homeownership rate dipped to one of its lowest levels in almost two decades, according to the Census Bureau.

Historically, owning a home has been considered an essential part of achieving the American Dream.

However, the housing bust, with its explosion of foreclosures, changed all that.

“People believed if you reached the middle class, you didn’t have to make the difficult decision of renting or buying without falling behind on credit card payments or health care bills,” said Garin.

And even though many experts say the housing market is recovering, many Americans aren’t buying it.

The survey found that 70% of Americans still believe we are in the midst of the crisis and nearly 20% think the worst is yet to come.

That’s because many Americans were impacted directly by the economy and the housing bust and are still struggling to get by.

More than half of those surveyed said they had to take on an additional job or work extra hours, stop saving for retirement, accumulate credit card debt or cut back on health care in order to afford their housing payments at least once over the past three years.

“Concern about the housing market is very personal,” said Garin.


  • roni

    That’s because their priorities are to have the newest electronics or car, be able to eat out all the time or buy whatever they want, when they want it. Buying/owning a home isn’t one of their priorities because it takes hard work. 20-30 somethings don’t want to work that hard. They just want someone to GIVE it to them!!!!

    • Thomas Murphy

      Because getting a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. in science and engineering is very easy compared to barely being able to finish high school and have a relative get you a job and join some kind of union with both a retirement and pension plan, right? If anyone was handed anything, it was the the baby boomers. They were simply just in the right place at the right time riding on the wave of Post WWII prosperity. Period. It’s in no way reflective of “how hard they worked”. The Millenials have worked just as hard and in many cases exceptionally harder, but only to not even find a job, including in the S.T.E.M. fields in unprecedented numbers. See for yourself: You can thank the baby boomers for the current state of the economy being over-complacent in government, leadership, the education system, and support of exporting virtually all products to Chinese manufacturing because they were the ones who just had to have all the latest and greatest electronics like VCRs, PCs, cell phones the size of bricks, etc. that spawned the electronics industry into what it is today.

  • Anonymous

    Owning a home is great. Owning a mortgage is a different matter. During the housing bubble Americans were not being sold homes, they were being sold flaky mortgages and false promises of future price appreciation. Reality has begin to sink in, slowly. Owning a home will always be a good idea for those who can afford it and don’t need to move often. Rentals are a good idea for many others. It’s time to remove the stigma from renting.

  • Callie Tsai (@cyzomaca)

    Obama is just putting the final nail in the “American Dream” coffin. If there had been a Republican in the White House for the past 6 years, CNN and the rest of the press enablers would be screaming for the guillotine at all this negative economic outlook.

    Lowest labor participation rate in 40 years – no big deal
    Record number on food stamps – no big deal
    Record number on Disability – no big deal
    Highest percent in Poverty in 40 years – no big deal
    Largest percent out of work 6 months or more since Great Depression – no big deal

    This is the most anti-business administration I can remember. Bad weather? No. Obamacare is to blame. 76% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck and they just had their insurance cancelled and replaced by something much more expensive and with higher deductibles and co-pays. They are in shock and won’t be buying a car, a home or much of anything else for quite a while. I make $60k a year and with my rent, gas, health insurance ($350/month), car insurance ($25/month from Insurance Panda, thank god), student loans ($300/month), utilities, food/drink, etc., I can barely get by. The massive amounts of tax that NYS/NYC and the feds take out of my paycheck doesn’t help either!!!

    Add to that the anti-business, anti-energy, race-baiting, class -warfare policies with pro job-robbing and resource-hogging illegals and you have a democrat utopia. It is a recipe for disaster.

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