Survey: Homeownership still seen as enviable goal

The vast majority of Americans who do not own a home still see homeownership as a praiseworthy goal, despite the damage wrought by the subprime mortgage crisis.

Ninety-one percent of renters believe homeownership is something to be proud of, according to a survey released Monday by housing giant Freddie Mac. However, just 39 percent of renters surveyed actually plan to buy a home in the next three years.

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The survey indicates that much of the positive impressions Americans have about homeownership may have withstood the economic downturn that slashed the values of home prices and drove many Americans into foreclosure. Despite that experience, Americans still strongly see buying a home as an enviable achievement and one that can provide a valuable asset for future generations.

But at the same time, the survey also found some lingering wariness about buying a home as an investment, as 66 percent of renters surveyed like that they are immune to potential declines in home values.

The poll found that most renters may be avoiding buying a home for financial reasons. While 38 percent of homeowners say they have just enough money to get by, 45 percent of renters say the same, and another 17 percent say they live paycheck to paycheck.

But it appears that younger renters are much more inclined to buy a home in the near future. Forty-seven percent of renters aged 25 to 34 said they plan to buy home in three years, and 58 percent of those between 35 and 44 years old said the same. By comparison, just 27 percent of renters aged 45 to 64 years plan to buy a home anytime soon.

While 91 percent of renters say buying a home is something to be proud of, 90 percent see a home as something to be passed on to children, and another 89 percent say the ability to customize a home as they see fit as a significant perk.

However, renters also rate strongly the positives that come without a mortgage. Seventy-eight percent enjoy the freedom from maintenance projects that comes with renting, and another 68 percent enjoy the flexibility renting provides when it comes to choosing a place to live.