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Most Americans pessimistic about the housing market, survey says

HomesJohn D. and Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationHousing and Urban Planning
Seventy percent in survey feel a housing crisis is still underway or that 'the worst is yet to come'
Does the American Dream include a monthly rent check? Most in survey say it could.
More than 40% in survey say the housing market remains a 'serious' problem for the economy

Seven years after the housing crash began, most people remain deeply dour about the state of the nation’s housing market.

A new survey out this week from the MacArthur Foundation found that 70% of Americans still feel a housing crisis remains today or that “the worst is yet to come.” Although that’s lower than the 77% who felt that way a year ago, it suggests that double-digit percentage price gains over the last year haven’t inspired much confidence. Indeed, more than 40% of survey respondents said that the housing market remains a “serious” problem for the economy.

And that’s translating into a shift of opinion on the role of housing in personal finances, too. Respondents to the survey, which polled 1,355 people by phone in April, were nearly split on whether buying a house still represents an “excellent long-term investment.” Half of respondents said it still is a good investment; 43% said that is no longer the case.

Nearly two-thirds said it has become harder to build wealth through homeownership than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Meanwhile, a majority said that renting a home has become more appealing over the last few decades while buying one has become less so.

Indeed, it would appear the traumatic housing market of the last few years may be changing the long-held link between homeownership and the so-called American Dream. Some 58% of respondents -- and 66% of those aged 18 to 34 -- said that renters can be “just as successful” at achieving the American Dream as homeowners can.

Nevertheless, 70% of current renters -- and 85% of people aged 18 to 34 -- still aspire to own a home someday. If that happens, the housing market will look a lot better to a lot more people than it does now.

 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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HomesJohn D. and Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationHousing and Urban Planning
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