Sobering Survey Highlights Housing Crisis Shell-Shock from Elaine Golden-Gealer

The American view of the financial importance of homeownership and awareness of the sacrifices it can entail appear to be shifting according to results of a recent survey released by the McArthur Foundation.  Americans have a lessening conviction that homeownership is the path to financial security and many believe that finding affordable housing is a major challenge and one that the government should address.

The second annual How Housing Matters Survey was conducted by Hart Research Associates between April 8 and 14.  Interviews were conducted with 1,366 adults, both renters and homeowners via both landline and cell phone.  A deliberate oversample was pulled of renters and owners who spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, an official benchmark of housing distress.

The survey found that even though economists and housing experts say the housing crisis is behind us, many Americans are not feeling the relief.  There are indications that the public’s views are shifting toward the positive, 51 percent feel we are still in the midst of the crises and another 19 percent believe the worst is yet to come.  More than two in five adults (42%) believe the housing market today continues to be a serious problem.


Respondents showed an awareness that there are challenges for many in their community in finding affordable housing, whether to rent or buy.  Almost three-quarters of those interviewed said it would be very challenging for persons living in poverty to find housing and 58 percent said it would be very or somewhat challenging even for families with average incomes to access affordable housing.  Large majorities also thought young people starting out and families with children needing access to quality schools would be challenged in a search for housing.



Respondents also expressed concern about persons finding suitable housing as they aged.  Two-thirds thought that seniors would have a difficult time locating housing either to meet their physical needs, their financial abilities, or to stay close to their support network.

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Senior Director, Coldwell Banker New Homes Division
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