Survey: Concerns remain around housing market's recovery

More than half of all adults asked said they have had to make sacrifices to pay their rent or mortgage during the past three years, according to a new survey released Tuesday by the MacArthur Foundation.

The MacArthur poll showed that 52 percent have gotten additional jobs, deferred savings for retirement, cut back on healthcare and healthy foods, run up credit card debt to cover their housing costs. 

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Even amid a housing recovery, 70 percent believe the country is still in the middle of the housing crisis or that the worst is yet to come.  

“The continuing stresses felt by the vast majority of Americans in the aftermath of the housing recession are real and profound,” said Julia Stasch, MacArthur’s vice president of U.S. Programs.

“It is clear that Americans believe more can and should be done to improve housing affordability for renters and owners, and that government should take action to invest in both equally."

Concern about the lack of quality affordable housing is one reason why 58 percent believe the government should be doing more to ensure there is enough affordable quality rental housing as well as homes to purchase. 

The survey reinforces findings from last year, that attitudes about homeownership have shifted, with 43 percent indicating it is no longer the case that owning a home is “an excellent long-term investment and one of the best ways for people to build wealth and assets.”

In addition 54 percent say that buying a home has become less appealing.  

Even as 70 percent want to buy a home, 58 percent say that “renters can be just as successful as owners at achieving the American Dream.”

“The housing crisis that began more than five years ago has left an indelible mark on the attitudes and experiences of Americans,” said Geoffrey Garin, president of Hart Research Associates.

"Concern and insecurity about the ability of middle class Americans to maintain their footing and for people to rise up into the middle class is a central theme in America today and this research shows that housing is front and center in these concerns.”

Hart Research Associates conducted telephone interviews of 1,355 adults between April 8-14.