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Homeownership well within reach, Americans say

A lot has changed since 2011. Gas prices are down, employment is up – closing in on 70 months of uninterrupted job growth – and more people are finding it easier to pay down their mortgages, evidenced by a declining foreclosure rate.

But one thing remains the same – the financial feasibility of homeownership, according to a newly released survey.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans – 63 percent – believe the average consumer is just as capable of buying a home in 2016 as they were in 2011, a recent survey conducted by National Journal found. At 62 percent, a similar rate felt the same way about a college degree. Roughly two-thirds indicated there was little difference in graduation potential, hearkening to the cost of tuition.

Ron Brownstein, editorial director of Atlantic Media, National Journal's publisher, said that Americans understand the value of hard work and the doors it can open – both literally and figuratively.

"Americans still have faith that their own efforts rather than forces beyond their control are the key to their success in life," Brownstein explained. "But this poll makes clear that Americans believe that the path to success has grown more complex and challenging."

These difficulties have been most evident in the economy, which while better than 2011 is far from firing on all cylinders, the survey found. More than three-quarters assessed the current state of the economy as poor, versus 1 in 5 who considered it to be performing well. That's up from 11 percent who indicated as much in 2013.

For the most part, though, Americans believe that brighter days are in the offing. More than 7 in 10 projected the economy to be doing better 12 months from now, the National Journal survey showed. This also included those who felt it would be doing no worse. Approximately 20 percent said that the economy would be worse off in a year's time.

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