Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 July 2014
Home Sweet Home. There’s no place like Home. Home is where the heart is. Home is where you hang your hat. A man’s Home is his castle. A house is not a Home. Mi casa es su casa. Few things have captivated the heart, mind, and soul of the American public as much as the concept of homeownership. Living in the home you own is viewed as a basic American privilege and a core component of the American cultural norm of what it means to be a success.
The vast majority of Americans, whether renters or homeowners, have long believed that owning a home is a better financial strategy than renting a home is. Indeed, homeowners and renters of all races and income groups continue to believe that owning a home is the safest long-term investment they can make. Americans continue to hold on to this belief, even though millions of Americans have low (or no) savings, stagnant (or declining) income, and unstable (or no) employment. Indeed, not even the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression, skyrocketing foreclosure rates, and plummeting home prices could convince most Americans that becoming a homeowner is not low-cost, low-risk, or easily attainable. For example, more than two-thirds of the people polled in a 2010 Fannie Mae survey felt that homeownership is preferable to renting because homeownership gives you more space for your family, more control over your living space, and is a better investment than renting.