Homes condos Montgomery Md Rockville Gaithersburg Germantown, Short sale foreclosure expert: Has Homeownership and "The American Dream" become an oxymoron?

Has Homeownership and "The American Dream" become an oxymoron?

Has Homeownership and "The American Dream" become an oxymoron?

Consistently synonymous with the term "The American Dream" is homeownership.   For past generations, the ability to achieve owning a home was a financial challenge, yet patience and perseverance kept the dream alive. Many generations worked and sacrificed for the dream of owning a home.  Pride in homeownership reflected the homebuyer's appreciation for finally achieving "The American Dream". 

The newer generations are more complacent in their approach to buying a home, yet the idea of homeownership has not been abandoned. 

 Is the American Dream of Homeownership still alive?



The American Dream

Don’t Change the Dream, Just Adjust Expectations

AmericanDream1 300x220 The American DreamSince the decline in the housing market nationwide began four or five years ago, there have been plenty of media reports suggesting the homeownership part of the American Dream has changed. It has always been Americans’ philosophy that homeownership had many advantages, one of them being price appreciation, which, combined with a “forced savings” account of paying off a mortgage, made owning a home a great financial move.

When home prices dropped after the bubble burst, the murmurs began. Maybe owning a home isn’t as big a part of the dream as it once was. 

But surveys show that, even in the toughest of times, Americans still want to own their own homes. It’s still part of the American Dream, and you know what? It still should be. 

It used to be that people bought homes and planned to live in them for a long time. Homes always appreciated in value, and paying off a long-term mortgage meant owning a home free and clear right before retirement – so you could either live your golden years with no house payment, or you could sell and use the earnings in retirement.

The bubble changed people’s expectations, though. The rapid gains in home values – especially in the “sand” states – led to speculation. Instead of long-term investments that provided eventual retirement security and tax savings along the way, houses became cash machines, equity traded for instant gratification. It was unsustainable, of course. But the lesson the media say we should take away from the whole situation is that maybe owning a home isn’t such a good idea. What the lesson really should be, however, is that just like our expectations changed during the bubble, they must again change now.  Read More >


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Comment balloon 6 commentsRick Reed • December 15 2011 12:44PM


I never quite understood why it was a dream in the first place.  Today it's more like a nightmare.  I think it's all just rhetoric anyway to sell homes and help out the economy.

Posted by Morris Massre, Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida over 7 years ago

Rick - It's so true that many 20-somethings have such a "take-it or leave-it" attitude towards homeownership.  I speak from experience when I say that.  I mostly work with first time buyers and have for most of my nine year mortgage career.  So many get into homeownership after being pushed into it by parents (usually trying to get the 20-something out of their house).

However, educating them on the whole renting vs. buying scenario will usually pound some sense into some of their heads.  I really try and refrain from using the whole "American Dream" tactic on 20-somethings.  At 20-something they couldn't care less and they don't really consider it their "dream" but rather the dream of other generations. 

Their dreams are on a completely different page and when it comes to real estate, they just want a decent and affordable place to live thats close to work.

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) over 7 years ago

Very thoughtful and informatiive post...appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) over 7 years ago

Rick, the "American Dream" of homeownership was sold to Americans by our government. I predict that homeownership will not be as important a goal with the upcoming generation as it is to Boomers. After having seen their parents and/or other family members lose their homes to foreclosure and the effects that had on their families, they may not want anything to do with that part of the American Dream.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 7 years ago

Well strangely enough most all of my transactions this year were with younger people. People that wanted well you know! So maybe this is another thing that is local or not! 

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Rick, for many younger workers, mobility is more important than ownership. They value the ability to pick and move to where the grass is greener if need be, without the concern of having to sell a property in order to make their move. Since our society has become increasingly more transitory, this makes more sense for those who expect to be moving around for work's sake, or whatever reason.

Posted by Elva Branson-Lee, CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent (Solid Source Realty GA) over 7 years ago