The American Dream is hard to define and probably means different things to almost everyone. Some believe that the dream is to own a house, see their children succeed and have a financially secure life. Others want much more, and still, there are some who want less.
But according to a recent survey, 98 percent feel that home ownership is still the central component to the American Dream. This survey was conducted by Brookfield Real Estate and Relocation Affiliates Inc., owner of the Prudential Real Estate franchise network.
The results of the quarterly Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey are designed to show the level of Americans’ confidence in home ownership and real estate.
Home ownership is still important
Results showed that 78 percent of respondents said owning a home was still “very important.” This is unchanged from the number answering that way in the first quarter 2012 study. Almost everyone, 98 percent of the survey participants, said homeownership was at least somewhat important, and that percentage continues climbing from the results seen in the previous quarter and a year earlier.
Commenting on the results, Earl Lee, president of Prudential Real Estate, noted that “The American Dream is clearly on the mend. Americans are feeling better about home ownership and the ongoing recovery taking place in residential real estate. Many are increasingly optimistic about their personal circumstances and, with housing affordability near all-time highs, they want to act on the opportunity.”
There were additional signs of growing confidence within the survey results. Almost 70 percent of respondents now believe that real estate is a good investment despite the market volatility of the past few years. That is up 6 percentage points from the first-quarter 2012 survey and 17 percentage points from the first quarter of 2011.
Looking ahead, 72 percent are confident that the real estate market and property values will improve during the next two years. In general, 64 percent of those surveyed have a favorable perception of the U.S. housing market, up from 52 percent in first quarter of 2011.
These results highlight the importance of home ownership as a value and as an investment. Home ownership should also be thought of as part of a retirement plan.
A reverse mortgage can be used to unlock the value of the equity in a home for home owners that are at least 62 years old. That means paying off the principal of the mortgage over many years and the appreciation of the home’s value can provide retirement income.
The survey didn’t ask, but we’re willing to bet a financially secure retirement is also part of the typical American Dream.