Is Home Ownership Losing Its Appeal?

Real Estate Agent with REALTY EXECUTIVES

Home OwnershipWith the state of the real estate market over the past few years, many are wondering if home ownership is losing its appeal? According to the Census Bureau, the rate of home ownership fell over the last decade by the largest decrease since the Great Depression. However, even with the decline, the number of Americans who own their homes remains the second highest on record. With these contradictory results, is owning a home still appealing? Are Americans still attracted to the benefits of owning a home?

"People's perceptions of likely future home prices have been altered in a negative fashion," says Thomas Lawler, an independent housing economist in Leesburg, Va. "People buy a home not just to live in but because it's an investment. Combine that with a lousy economy and it becomes a lot harder in today's world to qualify for a mortgage to buy a home than to qualify to rent one for the next year."

Despite the low interest rates as home prices continue to fluctuate and the state of labor markets, many people just aren’t interested in purchasing a home right now. According to Freddie Mac, 30-year fixed loan rates fell below 4 percent for the first time, but many Americans remain hesitant to consider owning a home as economic times remain tough.

"We've been renting because it's affordable," says Ms. Caswell, an executive assistant at an ambulance company. "We're like the rest of the country, living paycheck to paycheck. The majority of the time, we just feel like we are playing catch-up."

Unfortunately, cases like Ms. Caswell’s aren’t unique, which is why the rate of home ownership may have declined by 65 percent from 2000 to 2010. This doesn’t necessarily mean the American Dream has disappeared. Some areas of the Nation have high rates of home ownership, such as in Sumter County, Fla.

Although many Americans don’t see the benefits of home ownership at the present time, there are still many who are in the market to purchase a home due to the low interest rates, large inventory and discounted home prices. In fact, a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors involving 1,209 adults indicates 77 percent say purchasing a home is a good financial decision.

Where do you stand on the benefits of home ownership? Is owning a home losing its appeal?

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