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.

That level of optimism is pretty surprising, considering that in a related Pew Research survey, nearly half of 1,222 homeowners polled said their house is worth less now than before the recession started. In that same survey, 31 percent said their home was worth about the same, while only 17 percent said their home's value had grown.

Clearly, faith in the value of owning one's home is thus far unshakable. When Pew asked Americans to rank the importance of four long-term financial goals, homeownership came in first, narrowly beating out "being able to live comfortably in retirement." Go figure.

These AOL Real Estateguides can help, whether you're in the market to buy, rent or sell:
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