The American Dream is still alive and kicking, including within immigrant and minority communities, according to a survey from mortgage giant Fannie Mae.
The housing crisis hasn't quenched the homeownership thirst, the company found. More than 51% of people said the bust did not change their willingness to buy a home and an additional 27% said it actually made them more likely to do so.
"The crisis has not put a dent in the desire to own," said Doug Duncan, Fannie's chief economist, "although it may have changed the reasons that people want to own."
The report, the first close analysis Fannie has taken of consumer attitudes about the rent-or-own decision, found that qualitative reasons -- like having the ability to remodel or to send the kids to a better school -- have overtaken financial considerations as the primary motivators for homeownership.
Some misperceptions about financial benefits may help to keep it high.
"People's attitudes don't always line up with empirical facts," said Duncan.
For example, although trillions of dollars of equity were wiped out by the housing bust, nearly two-thirds of people surveyed still believe purchasing a house is a safe investment.
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Also, more than half the public thought buying a home was a good idea financially even if they plan to move out in less than three years.
Furthermore, a huge majority, 86% of those surveyed, cite income-tax benefits -- mostly the mortgage interest deduction -- as a big reason to buy.
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Fannie found that no matter what their ethnicity or immigration status, Americans generally share similar positive attitudes toward homeownership. And since, as the report stated, "strong homeownership aspirations exist across races, ethnicities and immigrant groups," Fannie can count on future demand for owner-occupied homes remaining strong.
By Les Christie, CNN Money
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