Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 9:22 PM
Housing industry advocates couldn’t have scripted this any better. A down-on-its-luck, beaten-up fundamental US economic sector got its own very unique stimulus program today that came in the form of a credible poll that covered consumer views on homeownership.
This New York Times article and NYT/CBS News Poll results will be linked to by the hundreds of thousands and read by millions of homeowners, want to be homeowners and real estate professionals for the next few years providing the long neglected alternate view of actual real estate consumer sentiment, which shows very favorable results towards homeownership but with trepidation about the risk.
New York Times article: Despite Fears, Owning Home Retains Allure, Poll Shows
The NYT news alert I received summarized the key findings quite succinctly:
- Owning a house remains central to Americans’ sense of well-being, even as many doubt their home is a good investment in after a punishing recession.
- Nearly nine in 10 Americans say homeownership is an important part of the American dream, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. And they are keen on making sure it stays that way, for themselves and everyone else.
- Support for helping people in financial distress over housing is higher than support for helping those without a job for many months.
View polling results document (housing portion starts on page 14, question 31)
In my view, the rising anti-homeownership mantra was best illustrated by Time Magazine’s 9/11/2010 cover story: The Case Against Homeownership.
The part that was left out or not understood was that the institution of homeownership has been baked into our culture since the 1920’s. The recent crisis was NOT about homeownership. It was really about the financial mechanism to mortgage it, the loss of regulatory oversight and blending of the investment and commercial banking worlds.
One side bar to the poll was similar to the “not in my backyard” argument concerning consumer culpability for some aspect of the systemic breakdown of the financial system and the shift of blame towards the banks.
Amid the swirl of recent disclosures about banks following improper and illegal procedures in pursuing foreclosures, 42 percent blame lenders, while 29 percent blame regulators.
When the question was asked in early 2008, as the crisis was still building, the numbers were reversed, with 40 percent blaming regulators and 28 percent blaming lenders.
Only a handful of respondents at either moment blamed the borrowers themselves for taking loans they could not afford.