Negative view of housing market persists, study finds

Seven years after the housing crash began, most people remain deeply dour about the state of the nation's housing market.

A new survey out this week from the MacArthur Foundation found that 70 percent of Americans still believe a housing crisis remains today or that "the worst is yet to come." Although that's lower than the 77 percent who felt that way a year ago, it suggests that double-digit percentage price gains in the past year haven't inspired much confidence. Indeed, more than 40 percent of survey respondents said that the housing market remains a "serious" problem for the economy.

And that's translating into a shift of opinion on the role of housing in personal finances, too. Respondents to the survey, which polled 1,355 people by phone in April, were nearly split on whether buying a house still represents an "excellent long-term investment." Half of respondents said it still is a good investment; 43 percent said that is no longer the case.

Nearly two-thirds said it has become harder to build wealth through homeownership than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Meanwhile, a majority said that renting a home has become more appealing in the past few decades while buying one has become less so.

Indeed, it would appear the traumatic housing market of the past few years may be changing the long-held link between homeownership and the so-called American Dream. Some 58 percent of respondents – and 66 percent of those aged 18 to 34 – said that renters can be "just as successful" at achieving the American Dream as homeowners can.

Nevertheless, 70 percent of current renters – and 85 percent of people aged 18 to 34 – still aspire to own a home someday.

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