Los Angeles Times / Confidence in value of homeownership persists through bust

Despite the decline in home prices, 81 percent of U.S. adults believe buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make, according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center.
 Homeownership topped the list of long-term financial goals for Americans, according to the study. Respondents rated homeownership, as well as living comfortably in retirement, as more important than sending children to college or leaving offspring an inheritance.
 “Owning a home is really a part of the American dream, and that is just part of the American psyche and something that people aspire to,” according to one of the study’s authors.
 Although the vast majority of adults surveyed are in favor of owning a home, the public’s faith in real estate has somewhat declined compared with the last time a comparable survey asked people about the wisdom of investing in real estate. In the Pew Research Center survey, 37 percent of respondents said they “strongly agree” that homeownership is the best investment a person can make, while 44 percent said they “somewhat agree.” The same question was asked by a CBS News/New York Times survey in 1981, and at that time, 49 percent “strongly agreed,” and 35 percent “somewhat agreed.”
 While home prices have entered a renewed decline after showing some improvements last year, many economists believe that the worst of the housing crisis is probably over, which could help explain the resiliency in Americans’ optimism.
 Homeowners in the survey were more positive about the financial wisdom of owning a home than were renters. Among renters, the desire for homeownership remains strong. According to the survey’s findings, 24 percent of renters surveyed said they rent out of choice and 81 percent said they would like to buy.

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