The American Dream of Homeownership: Bloody but Unbowed

The American dream of homeownership has taken a serious hit in the past five years--or so you might think. No wonder, what with so many Americans pummeled by underwater properties and foreclosures. Even the government piled on, declaring in a February housing report: "The Administration believes that we must continue to help ensure that Americans have access to quality housing they can afford. This does not mean, however, that our goal is for all Americans to become homeowners."

But Americans are not so easily daunted. The idea of owning one's home is ingrained in our psyche, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The nationwide survey, conducted in March, asked more than 2,000 adults whether buying a home was the "best long-term investment a person can make." Around 8 out of 10 respondents, or 81 percent, agreed with that statement.