Americans Still View Homeownership as Part of American Dream

Despite concerns regarding the overall health of the housing market, a large majority of the American public believes owning a home is an important part of the American dream, according to a recent poll by The New York Times and CBS.

Respondents also indicated a greater interest in government assistance for people struggling to make mortgage payments than for people who have been without a job for many months.

Nearly two thirds of respondents favored the long-standing mortgage interest tax deduction. Lawmakers have discussed ending the deduction, claiming the move would help balance the federal budget.

The poll also measured public opinion on the economics of renting a home versus buying one. The majority believed owning a home made more sense financially than renting.

Eighty-five percent of current renters said they would like to own their own home rather than rent for the rest of their lives.

When asked about their local housing markets, 45 percent said theirs was a fairly good market for buying, and 40 percent said theirs was a fairly bad market for selling. A slight majority (49 percent to 45 percent) believed buying a home was a safe investment, although a large majority said their home was worth about the same or more than what they paid for it, and about the same or more than the amount of their mortgage.

The poll revealed general disapproval with President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and with both political parties. When asked who was to blame for the home mortgage crisis, 42 percent blamed lenders, and 29 percent blamed the regulators.

See the full results of the poll from The New York Times in a nice, simple graphic or the full document of the poll’s findings.