Americans again aspire to own homes

November 14, 2017

Nationally, about two-thirds of both Republicans (65.71) and Democrats (68.7%) agree that owning a home is necessary to live the American Dream, according to findings of a Zillow Housing Aspirations Report released on November 10.

The biannual survey found that 73% of  Republicans and Democrats believe that owning a home increases a person’s standing in the local community.

In line with these opinions, national homeownership rates are returning from a historical low point following the housing crisis—a signal that the recession did not fundamentally harm overall sentiment toward homeownership. Millennials, who delayed homeownership but are finally buying homes, are the generation most likely to say homeownership is part of the American Dream, regardless of political affiliation.

“In a time of political division, these survey results remind us of something most Americans share – the sense that owning a home is a big part of living the American Dream,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Home ownership — and its ability to create wealth, stability, and community – doesn’t depend on political affiliation. As we debate the national and local politics surrounding affordability and tax reform, it’s worthwhile to pause and remember a value most of us can agree on.”

Los Angeles is one of the least affordable housing markets in the country, and nearly half of the survey respondents expect they will have to wait at least three years to buy a home. However, Los Angeles residents are more likely than residents of other large metropolitan areas to say that owning a home is necessary to live the American Dream, with 72% of respondents agreeing with the statement.

In Las Vegas, home values are still 23.3% below the peak values set during the housing bubblei, and 15.9% of homeowners still are underwater on their mortgagesiii. Despite this, 67% of respondents agree that homeownership is essential to the American Dream.

The survey also revealed that even amidst rapidly rising home values, 91% of Republicans and 89.6% of Democrats are confident that they will be able to stay in their current homes as long as they would like.

The Zillow Housing Aspirations Report is a semi-annual survey sponsored by Zillow and conducted by Ipsos. It asks 10,000 renters and homeowners in 20 metropolitan areas nationwide about their views on homeownership and their personal housing expectations for the future.

Research contact: @SvenjaGudell