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Is Homeownership Still the American Dream?

The idea of the American Dream has always been one centered around homeownership. However, as times have changed so have people’s views of this idea. 

A new study by esurance reveals that the respondents were split when asked if homeownership was a measure of success, as 52% said it was not. 

“This divide signifies a shift from previous American ideals, implying that homeownership may not be as crucial to the notion of success as it once was,” the report states. 

Different generations also have varying opinions on homeownership’s role in personal success. 

Just 38% of respondents between the ages of 18-24 view homeownership as a metric of personal success. That figure grows as the respondents become older: Ages 25-34 (44%); ages 35-44 (47%); ages 45-54 (49%); ages 55-64 (56%); and 55% over the ages of 65. 

Esurance adds that according to CNBC, researchers at the Stanford Center of Longevity found “homeownership declining most steeply among people under the age of 30 when compared to other generations,” as some feel homeownership doesn’t seem like a realistic goal due to rising student debt and home costs.

Zillow supports this claim, as its 4th Annual Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends found prospective buyer with medical debt are more likely to be denied a mortgage, while those with student debt put off buying a home. The report found that 16% of all buyers had medical debt while 20% carried student loan debt. 

Forty-four percent of homeowners and two-thirds of renters with medical debt say they couldn’t cover an unforeseen $1,000 expense—compared to half of all renters and one-fifth of homeowners. 

According to the report, 39% of buyers said student debt led to a delay in buying a home, and also impacts how much they can put down, affecting budgets for decades. 

Although esurance states homeownership rates have risen nearly 20% since 1940, the number of people under the age of 30 not buying a home continues to grow. The study found that 30% of prospective buyers want to make sure homeownership is a smart financial investment. 

Twenty-two percent of respondents responded that homeownership was a “personal dream” and just 18% said it was the American Dream. 

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.
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