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Owning a Home Essential to the American Dream, Survey Shows

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RISMedia, June 10, 2011—Despite the ups and downs of the housing market, home owners and non-owners alike consider owning a home essential to the American Dream.

That’s the key finding of a recent survey of people likely to vote in 2012 that was conducted on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va., and Lake Research Partners of Washington, D.C.

“The survey results show that Americans see beyond the immediate housing market to the enduring value of homeownership,” says NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev. “An overwhelming 75 percent of the people who were polled said that owning a home is worth the risk of the fluctuations in the market, and 95 percent of the home owners said they are happy with their decision to own a home,” Nielsen says.

“Homeownership is worth the risk, pure and simple,” says Neil Newhouse, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. “Even though the market is weak, people who don’t own say they want to buy a house. Almost three-quarters of those who do not currently own a home, 73 percent, said owning a home is one of their goals. And among younger voters who are most likely to be in the market for a home in the next few years, the percentages are even higher,” Newhouse says.

One of the more striking aspects of the survey results is the intensity of sentiment among potential voters, according to Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. “People believe overwhelmingly that owning a home is an anchor to the American Dream,” she says. “It’s an anchor to your retirement, and it’s an anchor to your personal economic well-being.”

Among the other survey results:
• Homeownership and a retirement savings program are considered by voters to be their best investments.
• 80 percent of home owners would advise a close friend or family member just starting out to buy a home.
• Saving for a downpayment and closing costs is the biggest barrier to homeownership.
• Americans believe that owning their own home is as important as being successful at their job or being able to pay for a family member’s education.

“Owning a home isn’t just a policy to people,” says Lake. “It isn’t just a commodity to people. It is a core value.”

This national survey of 2,000 likely 2012 voters was conducted May 3-9, 2011 by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va., and Lake Research Partners of Washington, D.C. It has a margin of error of +2.19 percent.

Public Opinion Strategies is a national political and public affairs research firm based in Alexandria, Va. Founded in 1991, it has conducted more than 6 million interviews with voters and consumers in all 50 states and over two dozen foreign countries.

Lake Research Partners is a leading public opinion and political strategy research firm providing expert research-based strategy for campaigns, issue advocacy groups, foundations, unions and non-profit organizations.

To view slides on the poll, please go to www.nahb.org/VoterPoll.

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