Poll Finds that Americans May Still Favor Homeownership

Despite the housing and economic crisis, owning a home is still a part of the American dream, at least according to a national poll of 1,500 likely voters.

Washington, D.C.—Despite the housing and economic crisis, owning a home is still a part of the American dream, at least according to a national poll of 1,500 likely voters.

In a webcast yesterday, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) revealed the results of the poll, which was conducted by Neil Newhouse, partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, a leading Republican polling company, and Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, one of the Democratic Party’s leading strategists.

“Americans are optimistic and hopeful, and even though we’ve been through a four-year housing crisis, the goal of owning a home is still a part of the American dream,” said Newhouse. “Homeownership for these voters is more than bricks and mortar and a mortgage.”

In fact, in regard to statements about homeownership, 79 percent of respondents say that homeownership provides a good place to raise a family (ranking this, on a scale of zero to 10, an eight or higher). Other beliefs included: homeownership helps create strong communities (67 percent), homeownership is a key part of achieving the American dream (65 percent), homeownership provides a stable, long-term investment (64 percent), homeownership helps fund government services such as schools, roads and public safety (56 percent) and homeownership is key to achieving economic security for your family (53 percent).

In a question asking about the most important things that people value, staying out of debt or getting out of debt was number one (88 percent), followed by saving enough for retirement (85 percent), owning your own home (78 percent), being successful at your job (78 percent), being able to pay for yours or your family’s education (75 percent) and being able to provide your family with more than you had when you were younger (64 percent).

Additionally, 72 percent of voters stated that now is a good time to buy a home, while only 7 percent said it was good time to sell their homes. Meanwhile, 68 percent of those who rent or do not currently pay for housing (i.e. live at home with their parents) say that one of their goals is to eventually buy a home.

The poll also found that majorities across political parties agree that dealing with the mortgage and foreclosure crisis is key to stabilizing the U.S. economy (57 percent of those who identify themselves as Republicans agree, while 66 percent of Democrats agree).

Additionally, most respondents oppose a reduction or elimination of federal support for making sure home loans remain available and affordable, and they oppose proposals that would affect home mortgage interest deductions, pointed out Lake.

Other findings of the poll include:

  • Voters who do not currently own a home overwhelmingly say they want to buy a home.
  • 33 percent of respondents say owning a home is the best investment they can make and is worth the market’s volatility. This follows just behind the 37 percent who say a retirement saving program is the best investment.
  • 65 percent of respondents who say their rent say that owning a home is worth the risk.
  • Americans perceive homeownership as providing numerous benefits to them, their communities and the economy.
  • Voters across parties agree that tax incentives to promote homeownership are appropriate and reasonable (71 percent of GOP and Independents and 84 percent of Democrats).
  • Voters say they would be less likely to vote for a Congressional candidate who proposed to eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction (68 percent of the total respondents, and broken down by party does not change the sentiment more than a couple of percentage points).
  • Interestingly, while 66 percent of voters start out favoring the idea of lowering federal income tax rates for individuals, they reconsider it when they learn that lower income tax rates may mean reducing or eliminating tax deductions.

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