Survey Says: American Dream is Alive and Well

Survey Says: American Dream is Alive and Well

Posted 03/04/2013

ConsumersNo one can deny the Great Recession left a permanent mark on our nation and its economy. But what effect did it have on the American Dream? That’s the question we set out to answer by asking Phoenix-based Benchmark Research Technologies to survey 1,683 people about their attitudes surrounding homeownership in the post-recession era. The responses we received were encouraging.

According to the survey results, the traditional notion of the American Dream is not dead, or even severely hobbled, as some experts have speculated. Here is a sampling of key survey findings:

The American Dream survived the recession
The American Dream is alive and well to 82 percent of the consumers we polled. When research participants were asked, “Do you believe the American Dream of homeownership is still relevant?,” a vast majority answered in the affirmative, including homeowners who were starting over after a recession-related loss, such as a foreclosure.

Homeownership remains important
We wondered how the economy changed homeowners’ opinions about the importance of homeownership, in general.  So, we asked them to compare their beliefs now to those they held before the recession. More than half – 60 percent – said the recession didn’t change their beliefs about the importance of homeownership at all. A quarter – 26 percent – said they felt homeownership was more important now than it was before, and 14 percent said it was less important now.

The recession increased some home-shoppers’ options
Some of the people surveyed actually managed to find a silver lining in the recession. Slightly more than 25 percent answered the question, "How has the recession impacted your efforts to buy a home?" by reporting their options had increased since the end of the economic downturn. This likely is due to a combination of downward pricing pressure and improving job stability. At the other end of the spectrum, 16 percent of consumers said the recession caused them to put their home-buying plans on hold. Not surprisingly, first-time buyers and current homeowners were two to three times more likely to believe the recession has increased their home-buying options compared with people who no longer own their pre-recession home.

Our take on the state of the post-recession American Dream?  It appears to be right at home in the “new normal.”