Bye, Bye To The American Dream? No Way!

Despite another lackluster year for real estate, 80% of homeowners still plan to buy again and 59% of renters still aspire to own their own homes.

by the Trulia Insights Team 
September 20, 2011

Twice a year, we ask people across the U.S. (through an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive) if homeownership is still part of their personal American Dream along with a few other questions about the obstacles that are keeping them from buying at this time. So what did our Fall 2011 survey tell us? To give you the inside scoop, we put together an infographic to help us walk though all the key findings. Let’s get started…

Survey Says: American Dream (of Homeownership) is Alive and Well
This past year has been filled with a series of unfortunate events – from the economyhovering on the edge of another recession and a lackluster real estate market to politics that are making people second guess their 2008 vote. Given everything that has happened, it’s only natural to assume that fewer people would say buying a home is a good idea, right? Surprisingly, this is not the case.

What our survey told us is that a whopping 70% of Americans said they still see homeownership as being part of their personal American Dream. When we asked this same question back in January, it was also 70%. What this means is being a homeowner is still on most Americans’ “I’ve made it in the U.S.A.” to-do list and that nothing (that’s happening politically or economically) is going to bring them down. Even when you look at the data by age (as we did below), most said their American Dream includes owning a home. In particular, we thought this sentiment was pretty strikingly high among young people – the children of the 90s and 80s in this case – especially when you consider the fact that most do not own their own homes.

Homeowners Can’t Get Enough (Of Buying Homes)
Believe it or not, 57% of current homeowners said owning a home is among the best long-term investments they could make – even more than buying gold and putting cash under a mattress (go figure). If you think about it, that’s a bold statement considering how many people have lost their homes to foreclosure thus far. As a matter of fact, 80% of these folks say they want to buy another house in the future. But wait, there’s more. When we broke down this stat by age, we found out that an astonishing 69% of current homeowners age 55 years old or older (we’re talking retired or almost retired Baby boomers here) plan to buy another home. Must be something about that homebuying rush that they can’t get enough of, eh?

Buying A Home Ain’t No Walk In The Park
Most housing markets may be “offering” a blue light special on real estate all year long, but times have changed. The home buying process isn’t easy anymore.

Hands down, the biggest barrier to being a homeowners is saving up for a down payment(though this isn’t necessary a bad thing ’cause you should be putting at least 20% down. Letting people buy with zero down was one of many things that got us into this mess of a housing crisis). This especially rang true for Millennials (18-34 year olds) – 62%  said this was among the biggest hurdles that they faced in trying to buy a home. On the flip side,qualifying for a mortgage and having a poor credit history were a bigger concern among Gen X’ers (35-54 year olds).

Click here to download a copy of the infographic. Also, in case you can’t get enough of the American Dream, here’s a slideshow of all the key findings from the survey and let’s not forget about the press release.

Trulia American Dream Survey – Fall 2011 
View more presentations from Trulia
Date: September 21, 2011

By: Andrew