Homeownership Remains the American Dream, Despite Challenges

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say owning a home is a higher measure of achievement than having a successful career, raising a family or earning a college degree, according to a new survey. But affordability remains a challenge for many of them.

The survey, released in March for, a financial services company, found that 74 percent of respondents ranked homeownership as the highest gauge of prosperity, above having a career (60 percent), children (40 percent) and a college education (35 percent).

The survey, conducted by the market research firm YouGov, comprised 2,529 adults, 1,397 of whom were homeowners. Of those respondents who did not own homes, about two-thirds pointed to one or more affordability factors for holding them back, including income level, soaring housing prices and their ability to make a down payment. Other factors included poor credit, not being ready for homeownership and high mortgage rates. Fourteen percent said they were not inclined to be homeowners, regardless of the circumstances.

To find more affordable housing, 58 percent of all respondents said they would be willing to make compromises, including moving to another state, buying a fixer-upper or moving to a less desirable area. Those results skewed toward younger Americans, said Jeff Ostrowski, a senior reporter at who covers the housing market and mortgages. “Boomers and Gen X have built up equity, so there was a smaller percentage of older people willing to make concessions,” he said.

But he added that there were still affordable homes to be found, particularly in cities in the Midwest and Northeast like Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. “In all of those places, the median home prices are $300,000 or less,” he said.

Despite the rise of remote work, which has accelerated the migration from expensive coastal cities to more affordable inland housing markets, a majority of homeowners in the survey were satisfied with their choice: Seventy-two percent said they would buy their current home again.

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