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May 31st, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Home ownership levels are on the decline. What does that say about the American dream?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

More than two-thirds of Americans say they have achieved the American Dream or will do so at some point in their lifetime according to the Pew Economic Mobility Project. But a new report out today says one crucial part of the American dream is no longer a reality for many Americans: Owning a home.

The rate of home ownership in this country is now back to the level it was in 1998. Forget the housing boom-it's like it never happened. And some economists and industry experts say the home ownership rate could drop even further to the levels of the 1980s or earlier.

Last year, 66.4% of Americans owned a home, down from a peak of about 69% in 2004. Housing prices fell in March to their lowest level since the so-called Great Recession began. This is all according to the Standard and Poor's Case Shiller Home Price Index, considered one of the best indicators of the housing situation in the country.

According to a survey from real estate websites Trulia and RealtyTrac, 54% of Americans said they thought the real estate market would recover in 2014 or later. That's up from about one-third who gave the same answer when the same poll was given last November.

The outlook is pretty bleak. Unemployment and bad credit are preventing many Americans from buying a home. Others are struggling to hold on to what they already own, either underwater in their homes– meaning the home is worth less than their mortgage - or facing foreclosure. And then there are those who have the money to buy a home but are choosing not to...often out of fear the worst is still to come.

Here’s my question to you: Home ownership levels are on the decline. What does that say about the American dream?


Filed under: Homeownership
soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. RB in CA

    For many the classic “American dream” has turned into a nightmare. The new American dream is simply to find a job that they can support their families with.

    Talk about lowering your expectations!

    RB in CA

    May 31, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  2. Elizabeth From Toronto

    That it is changing. More research needs to be done. It could be that younger people see another American Dream or they just cannot afford to buy a home as well as buy their IPAD, Blackberry etc!

    May 31, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  3. Russ in PA

    Poof, like the white rabbit in the magician's hat. Unless, of course, you were smart enough to realize that home ownership is often not true ownership. After all, how many of us are forced to pay exorbitant property taxes in order to keep our property? Renting sure seems smarter and smarter at times...

    May 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  4. METALWORKER

    The decline in U.S. home owner ship started wit the increase in illegales taking jobs, for next to nothing, that Americans made a good living at. At the same time good paying jobs were shipped to other countries to be maned by children making $20 dollars per week.
    This is fast becoming a third world nation, one so down that soon the downward spiral is such that Castro will soon be able to make it a part ov Cuba. METALWORKER in IL.

    May 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  5. Aria Ahrary

    I had no idea the American dream was owning a home. For me and my family getting out of war zone Afghanistan was enough. I don't remember peace in Afghanistan. We escaped during the Russian war. All we wanted was freedom and the opportunities U.S had. I didn't expect to owe on student loans for not such a great education. I also didn't know from the beginning of college they'd send you credit cards. Silly teenage me fell for it and was screwed until now. I also didn't know it was hard to find a job to pay bills that accumulate. I also didn't know a few American people were Islamaphobic along with some Politicians and news commentators in the F news station. I also didn't know they'd send young men and women off to war like they did in early stages of Afghan-Russian war when they'd kidnap teenagers to fight along side Russians and get killed. All in all I do enjoy the freedom, the TV shows, the good hearted American people. I went to elementary school and Middle School in Bloomington Indiana. "Pink Houses" by John Mellencamp should be one of the national anthems now.

    May 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  6. Larry Feierstein-Denver

    American Dream is a pipe dream. Does not exist. It may have been a great PR idea after WWII, but that was 60 years ago. No savings, no work, housing prices at all time low, not a dream a nightmare.

    May 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  7. David in Tampa

    Jack, what it means is simply that with the economy in deepening trouble, house prices low and going lower, and the number of foreclosures at all time highs and getting more numerous nobody knows how to get us out of this mess. The Republicans want to go back to the inane policies that are largely responsible for our current sad state of affairs and the Democrats have largely done nothing but dig the whole deeper and bigger around. I was screwed during my working years and now that I am old they want to screw me again. As I have said in the past, I have no faith in, trust in nor respect for our political and economic rulers. Bonzo and Dumbo could do a better job than the major political parties.

    May 31, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  8. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    That it went bye-bye.

    May 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  9. Jane (Minnesota)

    I think during the GW Bush admin, a lot of Americans lived beyond their means and bought more house than they really could afford. Contractors also kept building expensive homes.

    With all the good paying jobs that have been sent overseas, it's really not a surprise that more and more Americans cannot afford to own a home.

    Why is this such a surprise to anyone?

    May 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  10. David of Alexandria VA

    This is, of course, to some extent cyclical, Jack. But, wha is says to me is that home ownership is not an entitlement. There were a lot of people who should not taken the risks that they did. Now, more people are constructively weighin those risks as never before. And, in itme and when better able, will push ahead with home ownership as in the past, but more responsilby.

    May 31, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  11. Herman Portland OR

    The American dream of home ownership will continue in the future. The current efforts by our leadership is hampering the markets. We need to address the need for jobs and growth for America. The path the current administration took with added spending does very little for either. We need less regulation more focus on the free markets and job growth. In a very short period of time we will see the America that we can be proud of once again.

    May 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  12. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    That our economy is not recovering the way some people want us to believe and that we better just get used to the reality that we're going in the wrong direction.

    May 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  13. Jim

    Jack,

    The American dream went into a deep sleep the day George W. Bush stole the 2000 election. We found the wisdom to elect Prince Charming in 2008, but it will take him two full terms to undo the Evil One's wickedness and awaken Sleeping Beauty.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    May 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  14. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    What American dream? There is no American dream left. After Wall Street just about crashed and was helped to its feet with taxpayers' money, nothing else was done. I guess the big boys decided nothing else needed to be done. After all they are making money hand over fist and handing out large bonuses again. We're setting ourselves up for the same thing to happen all over again. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    May 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  15. JENNA

    Home ownership levels are on the decline. What does that say about the American dream?

    Since the recession was place on the backs of middle and lower class Americans it means that they won't be experiencing the "American Dream" of home ownership for a long time to come..

    Upper class Americans are not feeling the same pain.

    Maybe the question should be this Jack:

    Where are all those jobs that the GOP promised us if we elected them into office and gave the rich tax breaks?

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    May 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  16. Sylvia from California

    Keep dreaming..And when you wake up, vote this incompetent President out of power...

    May 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  17. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    It says that Appointment of Elizabeth Warren is not optional. You don't need anyone minding the store in Canandaigua, but If the middle class is going to get a square deal on Wall Street, somebody has to be minding the store.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  18. Kevin San Diego Ca

    The banks created the problem 100%, and now they are acerbating the problem by sitting on shadow listings, and not letting the foreclosures flood the market!

    If the banks and the government would go to the dictionary and define the words expedite, and laissez faire and let dump all the foreclosures onto the market and let the market take care of itself then we would get back to prospering! Rewarding people by letting them sit in a house and not pay the mortgage for 2-3 or more years is getting us nowhere!

    The stimulus money should have gone to those of us who invested wisely, and the banks and the bankers should have been let fall on their swords!

    May 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  19. Jayne

    The "American Dream" was shipped overseas to all the countries where poor people will work for practically nothing because they have no other options. Meanwhile, back in the states, CEOs and the moneyed stockholders laugh all the way to the bank. They've stomped on the "American Dream" for the sake of the almightly dollar and none of them particularly care if you have a home – owned or rented – or not.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  20. Ed from California

    The "American Dream" is gone!! Because the "American Jobs" are gone!! Who, during the Bush "Ownership Society" had a job good enough to support a $300,000+ house? Or, even rent? These "new, wealthy" owners of homes, used their homes as, "Piggy Banks", .o buy every conceivable new toy that came out into the market. No money down, low teaser rate interest rates. Lying on the application forms w/stated incomes. All they while w/a job that couldn't support themselves let alone a new home w/"toys"!! And not one Bank Loan Officer, Wall St Exec, Real Estate "Agent", or anyone else involved in the greatest ripoff of wealth in the History of Mankind has gone to jail!!How's that "Trickle Down" work'n for ya, so far??

    May 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  21. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    it says you can't afford a middle class lifestyle on "welcome to wal-mart" or flipping burgers at McDonalds wages, Jack.

    as long as the Wall Street Weasels and Corporate Outsourcing Quislings continue to control the Federal Govenment, the "American Middle Class" will continue to slide into poverty.

    we are rapidly headed for third world economic status.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  22. barbara in nc

    The people that were "pulled into the homeowner system" and given those flakey mortgages never OWNED anything.

    Home ownership is still for the wealthy or dishonest.

    Never changes.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  23. Steve, Clifton, VA

    Jack

    If the home ownership levels are returning to the levels they were during President Clinton's first term, then it means then Americans are returning to the reality of the American economy that can be sustained.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  24. Pete in Georgia

    This situation has two areas of change.
    1) Many young people today don't want to own a home.......................period. With home ownership comes responsibility and accountability, both of which scare the daylights out of today's crowd.
    2) Home ownership and mortgage lending go hand in hand. The lending industry is so screwed up today, about the only risk they're willing to take is a $100,ooo mortgage to Bill Gates...........................with 50% down payment.
    Until lending comes back, with risk, the party's over.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  25. CRAIG R. MCNEES

    tampa, fl someone forgot to tell our new governor, rick scott, as he has taken all those silly laws about over growth, pollution, congestion, lack of social services, lack of water, etc. off the books to make it easier for big business to build more homes here, even though we lead the nation in repo's and empty homes. maybe since he reneged on his removing all illegals promise he hopes they will all come to fla and take all those new construction jobs and buy some of those homes. the dream is still alive for the rich.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  26. scott, Oakland

    The new dream takes over which is to pray for new and clean CREDIT REPORT.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  27. Gerry

    The american dream is on hold but still exists. This generation will have to invest in homes as it may be their only source of income on retirement. Where people relied on IRAs and Social Security which are threatened, home investment may be their only hope for the future. Real Estate will stabilize if we can eliminate Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and let the market qualify loans without government pressure to grant substandard loans.

    Gerry
    Ash Fork, Az.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  28. Susan Frost

    Jack, I have no doubt that it speaks ill of the economy but we also must take into account that the population is aging. Many older people (especially women who've outlived or kicked out their husbands) prefer to rent because they're not adept at maintenance and repairs. There's a lot to be said for fixing plumbing, appliances, etc. with a phone call and knowing that the service-person is bonded and has been vetted by the management.

    Susan
    Tuscaloosa, AL

    May 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  29. garrick

    well it mean the price of a home is now the right time to buy.the market went to high any way. it was time to slow down building homes with out yards and the person so close next door they could hear you fart.
    now maybe they can go build the homes that got hit by the tornadoes to help put people back to work. yea that also mean the price of your house went down just like mine.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  30. Albert

    It has become a nightmare!!!!

    May 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  31. Tina Tx

    The average Joe is poor and cannot afford big homes any more. Thanks Mr Rich Man.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  32. Kathie

    its gone. greed by corporations and politicans in corporate America's back pocket rule. pathetic. my home is devalued and continues to decline in value. foreclosures are up. nobody in washington or any other branch of govt cares.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  33. Peg in NY

    The American Dream no longer exists.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  34. Patrick Malizia

    Jack, it obviously means that people have less to buy a home. But there's a good side to this. People maybe are living more within their means than they used to. That's what really led to the mortgage crisis. People just weren't living within their means.

    From: Bronx, NY

    May 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  35. B. J. , Quincy,Ill

    Only the rich and very lucky get that dream.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  36. Carol Haines City, Fl

    It means we need to bring our jobs back home and put our people to work. It is time to question any politicians patriotism that lets another job leave this country. They should tell business and the wealthy it is time to do what is best for the country or we are not going to have a country. Bring the jobs home and put our people to work so they can build or buy a home. Then and only then will we get back to where the American Dream is within reach for everyone.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  37. Bud Rupert

    The American Dream of (home Ownership) is a creation of marketers and the real estate industry of the 1950's. When GI Joe came home from WW II there was pent up demand for virtually everything including housing., Houses were very affordable and continued to be affordable through the 1970's and early 80's. Then the market went to hell in a handbasket with prices escalating to the absurd. Well, the day of reckoning is here!.... Housing should and will contiinue to fall. Then maybe the average working person can once again afford to purchase their "castle on the hill" – with 20% down and a 15 or 30 year fixed morgage of course.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  38. Phyllis G Williams

    Home ownership levels are on the decline. What does that say about the American dream?

    False dreams fly away like Job 20: 8. True dreams regardless of
    circumstances always come through like Joseph’s in Genesis 37 (smile).

    May 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  39. Ron

    The American Dream is now the American Nightmare.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  40. Ken from Pinon Hills. California

    America's employers have reduced the economic gains of the middle class they used to enjoy, and there appears to be no reversing that trend. Home ownership like many other items the economy used to produce is dwindling.
    We have a case of shooting ones self in the foot here. Business exported millions of our jobs out of the country, and those remaining are paying take it or leave it lower wages. Who pray tell, will they be selling their products to in the third world country of ours, void of a middle class, where one may not be able afford a decent tent.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  41. Rick McDaniel

    The American Dream, is a myth. It was always a myth.

    I was reminded of that, by the film Les Miserables, which clearly pointed out, that wealth is the primary thing that separates those who govern, from those who do not, and those who have, from those who do not. We see that pattern now, in the US.

    Home ownership, will become a thing of the past, that only the wealthy can achieve.

    The rest will become serfs to the wealthy, as did the common men under monarchy, in the past.

    We are moving faster, and faster, towards dictatorship in the US. Such is the result of allowing the wealthy and powerful, to control, too much.

    The entire country has become a pawn in the hands of the wealthy and powerful, in both political parties, and neither cares what happens to the country, as long as they, themselves, are in control, no matter which political party they are affiliated with.

    Global Corporations will become more powerful than governments, and they will control everything, eventually, and their stock holders will be the new monarchy.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  42. Joe CE

    Home ownership builds a stable society where the individual has a sense of a tangible stake in the country. This nurtures respect for human rights (especially property rights) and acceptance of the property of others. It is a necessary national goal and a hugh mistake to let it slip away.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  43. Gary H. Boyd

    The American Dream as you call it Jack, has become an illusion. A good education leading to a good job, leading to home ownership and a secure future. The first is in doubt, the second is in the unemployment line, the third's a rental unit and the forth is in the hands of a bunch of politicians who can't even balance a budget. For all too many, the American Dream has become a nightmare.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 31, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  44. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    The American dream is dying as the nightmare of the Bush Recession continues.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  45. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    It means we are being sold out. The middle class are expendable and this is proof. In the end maybe all that the banks will own will be just that, empty houses.
    Here's my question to you Jack. Why should our Gov't care, anyway, if the American dream is fulfilled or not? Really. Those fat cats don't even know what a gallon of milk cost.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  46. Mr. D

    Any future "American Dream" will not be realized until we travel the long road out of debt. That means: we the people and we the country.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  47. Mark in Oklahoma City

    Jack, gasoline and food prices have turned the American Dream into the American Nightmare. It is now a Dream only the well off can afford.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  48. Paul P.

    Middle income wages have been declining for the past decade, people have been living beyond their means and with the economic downturn, its all caught up to us. I think this is a setback more than a new reality, but the labor force really needs retraining to become more relevant in the future economy and we must demand more from our education system.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  49. Annie, Atlanta

    What American Dream? That dream is whatever those who are really in power (the guys who own our politicians) decide it is. Right now it's their dream – unbelievable profiteering for 1%, provided by the other 99% of us. That's some dream, huh? We've circled right back to the Guilded Age, and we did it to ourselves with who we put in office. Yeah, us.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  50. Phyllis G Williams

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Home ownership levels are on the decline. What does that say about the American dream?

    False dreams fly away like Job 20: 8. True dreams regardless of
    circumstances always come through like Joseph’s in Genesis 37 (smile).

    May 31, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  51. Brian in IL

    Life is very uneven the majority of the time. The American Dream in retrospect was probably a figment of the imagination drawn from a time, actually one of the rare times in our history, when stability was the name of the game. Trouble is, most of us who grew up in that area felt that the dream of one's own suburban home, a job that would last nearly a lifetime, and so on and so on would last forever. We were taken by surprise when it did not. Ups and downs are the theme of life, more loke a roller coaster than a flat plain. That vision of the AD has been dead for many years now, but society will probably remain in malaise unless we can restore it, which I am not at all sure we can. As it is, we need to be so cautious with temperamental coworkers as they can do us in big time and get away with it, and the work environment becomes a minor battlefied with the axis tilted ridiculously in the employers favror. And it would probably take the equivalent of a Gettysburg to get the US to alter course and quit favoring the corporations. Only then would the AD have even a sliver of a chance of being restored.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  52. Ed from MD

    It says more people are choosing to rent the American dream until something better comes along. It costs a lot to sell the American dream, dream dealers want like 6%

    May 31, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  53. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    It says that the banksters, including Fannie and Freddie are sitting on it. The underwater assets held by the United States need to be written down to asset market value with principal balances reduced in kind, either by selling to the Federal Reserve or acting on their own. If Obama does not make that happen, Romney will win in 2012.

    May 31, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  54. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    The demand and the desire to own a home is still there. The difference is now the banks have been taught a small lesson in ethics and honesty. They can no longer offer mortgages with no income verification or on homes that have a sale price well above the appraised value. Home values were inflated by the unscrupulous dealings of the banking system. Banks still have to learn the big lesson and when Congress gets interested in derivatives the lesson will be in front of them. Let's really level the playing field and eliminate the income tax deduction for home interest and tax payments. The American dream is alive and well but it has to be restructured for the 21st century and beyond.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  55. Sean in Michigan

    I think it says the American Dream is on hold, and the recovery isn't going nearly as good as some would have you believe.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  56. Nate

    It says that the American Dream is going back to the time when people actually were poor in America and had to work hard for EVERYTHING they wanted. Thus making them appreciate what they had. Home Ownership is down because aren't use to working hard at certain wages compared to years ago. Plus everyone wants the latest this or the latest that, turning wants into must-haves and not accounting for possible future failures of their needs.

    -Nate, NC

    May 31, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  57. thom richer

    It means that the gap between the rich and the poor has finally widened to the point that there is no longer a majority left in the middle. The Middle Class has been eliminated in favor of a caste system. Along with an unbelievable disrespect for the working class and a growing belief that the common worker does not deserve a living wage and career benefits, has put the American Dream out of reach.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    May 31, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  58. Gigi Oregon

    It tells me there are going to be a lot of very affordable homes on the market in a few years. And if you will shop on a beer budget and not buy a home that is out of your income level, loans for no longer that 15 years, with a huge down payment. you might get lucky on the next wave of the American dream.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  59. Ken in NC

    It says our young people are waking up to find their dream is really a nightmare brought to them by Wall Street Fat Cats.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  60. Randy

    Wrong question...the question should be (homeownership in decline for MIDDLE CLASS and the POOR) because the rich as usual have never had it better in the history of the WORLD.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  61. Dianne in Arkansas

    The American Dream is just that....a dream. For some of us, that dream will never come true. And for others, it has become a nightmare.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  62. Jeff In Minnesota

    It's a vicious circle Jack. The middle class is hurting. Jobs are getting more plentiful, but jobs that can afford a $200K or even higher mortgage are few and far between. As a result, it's tough to sustain home ownership levels when the price of a home has exceeded the ability of the middle class to qualify for a mortgage. This will all work itself out, however it will take quite a while for that to happen. In the meantime, all of those "Boomers" and others that tied their wealth to their investment in their home are stuck. Wait until "Boomers" find out that they have to pay more for their retirement and that they cannot afford to retire at 65 and things will really get ugly.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  63. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    The American dream has turned into a nightmare for about thirty million Americans As long as congress keeps doing the bidding of the wealthy a dream is all that the middle class will have.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  64. Cy Gardner

    The American Dream is about as valid as a cellphone salesman's promises. The energy companies set our energy policy; the banks set our investment policy; the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies dominate illness in America. As they say in the trailer parks, "How's that workin' out for ya?" As long as our politicians remain largely corporate prostitutes the American Dream is dead. Long live the new Dream" "Please let me work for food! I'll stab my neighbor in the back, lie and steal for you, just give me some old bread for my children!!! Please sir, I want some more".
    cy Arlington, VA

    May 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  65. Bob in Houston

    Jack,
    It shows that the Reagan tax cuts worked. Income for the top two percent increased, government spending exploded, and the middle class got squeezed; Republican tax cuts work for the rich and hurt everybody else.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  66. Cy Gardner

    I have a dream. I dream that one day, white children and black children will band together to storm the gates of the mansions of hedge fund managers and health insurance executives and CEOs and eat their young. EAT THE RICH!!! That's the new dream. Cy from
    Arlington, VA

    May 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  67. Terry in Chandler, AZ

    The American dream of home ownership is not out of reach, but reaching that dream has been hindered. A lot of people and companies on a lot of levels led to the problem we have today. People buying out of their price range (perhaps knowing so), dishonest mortgage brokers, dishonest bankers and other lenders, dishonest firms and people on Wall Street. A lot of dishonesty here Jack. I bought reasonably with a 15 year loan 10 years ago, and am making my final payment next month.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  68. Ralph Spyer

    Yes Jack it was a dream. Why is it no one from Wall street has gone to Jail yet? No one from the federal reserve has gone to jail yet ? No one from the big Banks have gone to jail yet ? Politcians have the balls to call for share sacrifice they must think we are in a state of stupor

    May 31, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  69. Ken in Oregon

    The American Dream is like those window displays at the Mall: You can't touch it, but it looks great, you'd love to have it, until you look at the price tag and realize it's not going to be yours for a long time. You can't even try on the Dream anymore, like a decade or so ago.
    sure some of us will get to go in and proudly make that purchase one day, but until then Jack, the "Dream" is on hold.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  70. Kevin in CA

    The American Dream is in decline, just like the middle class standard of living. The real effect of decreasing home ownership is a commensurate decrease in social cohesion and stability.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  71. John from Alabama

    Jack: Home ownership is in decline, because the young, thirty somethings, and 40 somethings do not want the responsaiblity of a home. The economy is not worth the risk at this time. The reason for unstable housing market is: J.P. Morgan Chase; Bank of America; Country Wide Mortgage, Goldman Sachs, and Moody's. They built this house cards, and now no one wants to play.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  72. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    It says that the banks and money men have WON. They have succeeded in (1) selling homes at hugely inflated prices, (2) drying up the capital so that businesses can't operate and have to get rid of their employees, (3) being able to foreclose on the homes of the unemployed, (4) take a HUGE tax write-off when they try to sell the foreclosed properties at prices drastically lower than the inflated loans they hold, and (5) re-sell the properties to those fortunate enough to still have jobs. What a ripoff!

    It's pathetic. And it's pathetic that "we the people" are allowing it to happen!

    May 31, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  73. andyz Lynn, MA

    If the American Dream is not dead then it certainly is on life support. Remember all the wonderful things that would happen with globalization? The only thing I remember happening is that American industry went overseas and American workers went on welfare. OK, you probably surmised that I am not a big fan of globalization. Time to re-evaluate each trade agreement and those that are not equal (read: where the US is not getting shafted) get renegotiated immediately.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  74. Bill in New Mexico

    This trend (one of several) indicates that the goals and expectations of Americans are not being met. If these trends continue, people will give up on their dreams.

    America will be increasingly losing the efforts, morale, and the industry of more people. America is in danger of losing its middle class.

    If this trend should continue for decades, the illegal immigrant may not have a motive to slip into the U S. I'm not sure I would like living where people are not trying to get in?

    May 31, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  75. Jim in Gardendale, Alabama

    Jack, it tells me that America has and continues to lose jobs. Where are the jobs that the eager Republicans promised when they "suckered" people into voting them a majority in the House in 2010? Oh, I forgot, their social agenda was more important! They won't fool me twice!

    May 31, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  76. LL Reuben

    There has never been a dream

    May 31, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  77. Mary Steele Yorktown VA

    It says the American dream is out of reach for millions of people because our country tries to absorb more people than there are jobs for!! With 22 million unemployed workers who can't find a job, it proves that it's time to honor the promise of the American dream by kicking illegals out and stop importing so many visa workers, we obviously don't NEED them!!

    Yorktown VA

    May 31, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  78. Linda in Charleston, SC

    The American Dream is now the American Nightmare.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  79. Michael Hackensack, NJ

    The American Dream is to work hard, save money and buy a house. So if your reporting that home values are falling, then buying a great house with that saved money will be even more easier as there are plenty of low priced good values out there.

    Was this a trick question?

    May 31, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  80. Conor in Chicago

    The deulsion that in America all you have to do is work hard and buy a home and you've succeeded is gone. Now you can't find a decent job because the person who sold you your shoddy mortgage took that money and invested in a company that shipped your job overseas. Then the government gave those same people a bailout because if they didn't the entire economy would collapse.

    There is no American dream. There are rich and poor and the poor are going to turn on the rich. I yearn for that day!

    May 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  81. Thomas from Seattle

    The American Dream is history unless bankers and Wall Street are eliminated from the equation.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  82. Jesusdude

    America needs Dr. Phil!

    May 31, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  83. Nancy, Tennessee

    The American dream is on hold for so many people who are unemployed or under-employed. Where are the journalists that should be out doing human interest stories about the struggles of American families? The members of Congress need a large dose of reality to see how Americans are living in poverty while we waste billions fighting and then rebuilding other countries.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  84. Paul, New Port Richey, Fl

    Everything was just fine until the government got involved in the housing market and tried to turn mortgages into votes all the while singing, "Happy Days Are Here Again".

    May 31, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  85. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    This morning on CNN Money I saw that the Double Dip Housing Recession is confirmed. All anyone has to do is look around at all of the "For Sale " signs and see that people are holding onto their money and not buying. The large Banks are shaky and not lending. People are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Wall Street and our crooked politicans have driven this country so far into the ground that now Homeless Shelters are even closing. The Homeless,who have nothing,Now don't even have a temporary haven to go to anymore. The economy is so far down that the people have to look Up to see the Bottom.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  86. lynnej in nc

    There was never no such thing as the American Dream. It has always been the American Getting By.

    But the home ownership debacle can be laid at the feet of the appraisers and the flippers who inflated the prices and then the banks knowing good and well that Joe and Mary couldn't afford a $250K house while making $7.25 an hour, giving them an adjustable rate to boot.

    Instead of bailing out the banks, Congress in 2008, should have given the money to the homeowners whom had gotten screwed by the banks and fly by night mortgate lenders.

    So much for regulation...

    May 31, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  87. ImALibertarian

    As long as the FED gives counterfeit dollars to Goldman Sachs which then uses it to buy Treasury Bonds which the US government agrees to redeem with interest, there will be no rational American Dream. Accepting a loan of counterfeit dollars and agreeing to pay interest on it is insane. Democrats and Republicans run the asylum.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  88. Bob in Kansas City

    Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, study the root cause of the 1917 Russian revolution and look at the similarities here in the USA......there's your American Dream.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  89. Donald in New Mexico

    The middle class is an endangered species. The rich have stolen the American dream. As long as wages/labor are stagnant, and the rich continue to siphon all the profit off the top, the dream is unaffordable. It may change when the working poor figure out they are paying for the infrastructure the rich use to make their money. It's about JOBS and taxes.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  90. Bill T

    The American Dream is no longer about owning a house.Now it's about finding a job.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  91. Dexter Washington

    Dexter from Atlanta.
    The dream is now a Nightmare

    May 31, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  92. Sam

    What the decease means is that people believe it will get worse, and if the have any money they want to hoard it against the day they will need it to eat..

    May 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  93. Johnny

    I'm in Canada and the Americn dream is our dream too......except we don't have such a divisive government running things and screwing them up for our workers and those who want to own a home!

    May 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  94. Bob

    Jack, the better question is why our politicans refuse to take action and solve the problem. Unemployment plain and simple. We can create millions of jobs by making E-Verify manatory (only 2 to 4 percent of illegal aliens work the farms), Tax China and bring back our manufacturing jobs, Tax those that outsource for cheap labor, stop lobbying, etc. The list is endless but those we keep right on electing do nothing. As long as we keep electing them the beat goes on and on.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  95. Jim H.

    It says that since Obama became President, more poor people have lost their homes, more middle class have lost their homes, and more people are living under bridges and highways. It meas fewer people have jobs, and the ones that do have lesser paying jobs at that. It's a further indicator that this bad economy can't be over soon enough and the 2012 election can't come soon enough!

    Jim
    New York, NY

    May 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  96. David Davey

    The American Dream is alive and well... For everyone but Americans.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  97. Steve, Clifton, VA

    It tells us that state and Local Governments will have to find another source of revenue to tax American dreams on. And trust me, no dream goes untaxed in the American tax system.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  98. Jose Jimenez

    With home prices going down as fast as a roller coaster the only way we can all achiever the american dream is to sleep, because it only happen when you are deep dreaming. The US has become now a very difficult place to make your own dreams come true, that is why we have so many people going overseas to the orient where the Oriental dream is now better than ever, and it could lead you into the oriental express luxury dream !

    May 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  99. Eve M

    I dream that my rent stabilized apartment stays at it's current precentage rate for increases and that landlords in NY do not get greedy (greedier!)

    May 31, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  100. Brandon Zobisch

    You say American Dream and Home Ownership and I think about my grandparents or parents. Home ownership used to say something about your Financial capabilities but today I don't consider a home to be a worthwhile investment. My American dream is financial liquidity and growth and the ability to move and invest where the money and opportunities exist.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  101. Stephan Bailey

    The American Dream is no longer housing ownership the New American Dream is having a job and money to survive. We will take years of not a decade to recover from this recession.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  102. luke

    It says that feudalism is back. We, most of us anyway, are going to be serfs. The ruling class, politicians, movie stars, etc., are going to exploit us and keep us under their thumbs. Is that too blunt? If you doubt it, take a good look around you. Look at the dynasties.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  103. JMorgan

    John~ the American Dream of owning a home died years ago, with the wealth transfer from the middle class to the well to do's. Productivity is at all time high's but wages have remained flat for a decade. Any hope to achieve the American Dream continues to die, while unions are thrown under the bus. CEO's are raking in billions in bonuses and compensation packages, meanwhile the grunts on the floor get nothing.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  104. bill shoffner

    when does ohbama take over?

    May 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  105. Sarah

    Home ownership is tightly linked with job stability, which has changed drastically. If you fear that you may lose your job, the last think you want is a mortgage. If you were a renter instead, you can walk away from a lease with a months notice and not end up bankrupt. You can move in with family, or move to where the jobs are. If you own a home, you are stuck with it. In today's market, it is extremely difficult to sell it. So, you are stuck with it like a ball and chain. I took a very long time to decide to buy my home, because I prefered the flexibilty of renting. Now that I own it, when I find myself fantasizing about a better job somewhere else, I am reminded of how difficult it would be to sell my house and I feel trapped at times. As our point of view about remaining with one job for many years, or in one community for many years, changes, so will our point of view on owning a home.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  106. Joe Hrehor

    it means capitalism, doesn"t work either.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  107. Larry Hojlo

    It's pretty obvious – The American Dream has become a nightmare!

    May 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  108. john r walker

    jack, o bama is keeping his promise of change. he has changed us from a first world country to a second world country and is quickly approaching third world such as middle east and africa. no job, no money, no homes or food, and big bellies rather than big dreams

    May 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  109. Alex Landi

    Mt. Shasta, CA

    Maybe home ownership is declinig because the bubble of sub-prime mortgages has burst and we are getting back to rational and sustainabe numbers. Or maybe its because the American Dream is declining because America itself is in decline. I still love my country but I don't like it as much as I used to. I don't have any dreams anymore. Now, it's just survival mode.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  110. Tri Man

    The american dream is being replaced by the Obamaination of America. We will not have any dreams only nightmares as long as he leads this Great Country

    May 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  111. Bill, Yardley, PA

    The American Dream is still there. It is only temporarily suppressed while Obama continues his socialistic policies.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  112. Dan Weber

    The american dream has been stolen by currupt pols and the dream is no more. Wars, outright larceny in high places, elected officials ignoring their constituents and laws destroying freedom are rampant.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  113. kahana

    I bought a house in 2006, and paid 226k for it....as of right now that same home is valued at 70k and consistently falling. The American dream for me... is just that....a DREAM..not reality. This is the reality I DREAMED of!

    Hurt homeowner in Virginia

    May 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  114. Frank Ernst

    Jack, As long as there is no income on the left side of the equal sign, the American Dream, including home ownership, has to die. We killed all pro American tariffs and trade policies and have thus sent everything we ever did to cheap foreign labor markets. America is now dead broke and spiraling into oblivion. Try to buy anything made in America – The proof is in the puding. Tell it like it is - No one else does. Frank Ernst, Cape Coral , Florida

    May 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  115. Sebrina Alfonso

    We are so polarized in this country that we are sitting and blaming our politicians for something the banks and wall street did. This I do blame the republicans for. But what baffles me is how anyone in this country that isn't rich can vote for a party that blatantly serves the rich and is willing to put the burden on the middle class and below.
    Remember, the elderly are better of than those of us who are under 55. Most of us have lost everything and are wondering what our twilight years will be like as we have nothing to rely on but social security and medicare. There will be no extra money for the next couple of generations. We will be an even poorer nation with very poor elderly in the next twenty years if everything is taken away.
    We have all paid into this. Shame on the gov't. for spending it.
    Why isn't this nation mad at them for keeping their insurance as is but expecting the rest of us to suffer. Obama is the only one who I have heard say he is willing to pay his share. If these big companies are not paying taxes, go overseas. They are not helping our economy dig out of this, they are just getting richer.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  116. Ophelia

    It is a shame the housing problem. My Daughter just backed out of a good home becuase We know the prices are going down. And my
    house is under right now....God Help us all..The Rich is getting richer
    by buying these homes dirt cheap & the poor is OK...it is the Middle class which is breaking down. WE will be 3rd world country soon. I left one to live better here but........great lose...

    Ophelia

    May 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  117. Jackie Quinn

    The American Dream has been a symbol to control the American public and maintain order throughout history. The Dream itself has shifted in various forms and while for some it still reflects freedom, for others it is a dream to possess material objects - cars, houses, property. Houses, however, do not make lives–humans do. As we see fewer Americans owning homes in the future, we will have to watch to see what the new dream will evolve to.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  118. Kerry

    Jack,
    The American Dream created by financial companies who had lots of money and needed to lend with the loan guarantees from the government. If a house, cars for every member of the family and higher taxes constitute the American dream, I want to be awake in a nightmare. There is no dream but reality; if you can't pay for it, you can not buy it.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  119. Cat

    Jack many people are renting so they don't need to deal with the stress of owning a home, many younger and older americans don't want to deal with a large home and the repairs to owning a home. Many people I know that have large amounts of money just rent and they are just as happy. And many of the real estates agents I know said the renters market is on the rise. The americans dream is out there you just need to make it happen and not compalin about it, if you own a house or you don't we still live in a great country.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  120. Kevin in Rocklin CA

    The American dream is over, and it is because of greed. When greed is outlawed we will have a chance at that dream again. And, you will never be able to make a profit on a home. Not a dime.
    Kevin Rocklin Ca

    May 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  121. Alan Shaw

    It means that the American dream is no longer one of home ownership. The dream is now of freedom and flexibility that comes with renting! People are realizing that after property tax, insurance and maintenance, it just isn't worth it!

    May 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  122. wace torres

    American dream/ american nightmare

    May 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  123. ardis shanks

    Jack! some of us seniors dont give a damn
    that home prices are going down
    we have no morgage
    and if we sell our homes for less
    we buy for less.
    it's that simple

    May 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  124. David Davey Los Angeles, CA

    The American Dream is alive and well... for everyone but Americans!

    May 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  125. Pinky in PA

    I agree with what Russ in PA said.
    I have the misfortune to live in the state of PA as well, and my taxes have gone up 350% since 1991 while the value of my house has declined.
    Hey Jack, why don't you do a story on the corruption in this state? Our home values keep dropping, yet our assessments and taxes just keep on going UP.
    The average tax bill on a $100,000 house is $5000 in PA.
    Yeah, there's a story here all right, too bad nobody's paying attention.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  126. Dan Deveson

    Now is the time to buy real estate. Values are outstanding, it's a buyer's market by any measure, and this American dream is within reach of most people with a job and some gumption.

    People still need to remember that real estate is and always will be a 5-10 year investment, but you can be very sure that five years from now people will be saying "I remember when...I should have bought."

    There's an old saw that the time to buy is when there's blood on the street. It's not getting any worse, the economy is on an upswing, and real estate will necessarily follow.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  127. Mike

    My standard of living was better prior to having a property.
    Mike

    May 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  128. jerry sawick, San Andreas, Ca.

    I saw the "American dream" go south in the 70's when wages failed to keep up with double digit inflation. I lost 24% over one three year contract. That is when it became necessary for both spouses to work in order to buy a home and have a decent lifestyle. Good bye to the Cleavers, hello to turn key kids.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  129. Tim

    Dear Jack

    The American dream was outsourced first to Japan in the 80s then to communist China in the 90s for wall street balance sheets...and we have the nerve to look surpised?

    May 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  130. Amie from Florida

    It tells us that the American Dream has been shifted from the opportunity to own property to a belief in entitlement to owning property. Everyone has the opportunity to own property, it is not discriminatory, but not everyone is entitled to do so..that is a product of time (something we forget about), work ethic, capabilities, and forces we can't control. By the way, I don't own property...yet.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  131. Benjamin

    The American Dream is a promise of a possibility of prosperity and financial success. When using the national debt, the decline of home ownership and the recent value of the dollar as references, it is obvious that it is a possibility that no longer exists for the majority of Americans. You have to either be asleep or one of the few who are already prosperous to believe that dream.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  132. Dayla Arabella

    Jack, I think it's time we are re-evaluate the American Dream.

    I am in my late 30's, childless and not a home owner and I am happy as a clam. My boyfriend and I make decent money, we spend all the money we would have on an expensive wedding and college tuition and travel, play golf and we love our life. Will we get in the market soon? Probably yes bc of the deals, but for all my friends who said you weren't anyone back in the late 90's unless you have that McMansion with 2.5 kids...who's crying now?

    Arabella in Boston

    May 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  133. Stephan Bailey

    Herman,
    Are you kidding me? It was the Clinton/Bush Administration deregulating the Banking industry that put us in this situation in the first place. If anything we need more regulation of the Markets and Financial Institutions to avoid this in the future. Big business is like a child in a candy shop. If we do not scold big business and keep them from stealing from the candy jar the just run rampant and we will repeat this again and again.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  134. Rich

    Ya know jim, As your average middleclass american, Things increasingly seem to be heading in the wrong direction every way u turn. Home values down, fuel cost up, food costs up, insurance cost up, enemployment up and thats just to start. The american dream has been dead for a long time. So long are the days were one parent could work and the other take care of the home and kids. Now corporations revenues have increased over the recent history 250% but amercans salaries have only increased 25%? Sounds like a problem. Maybe Paylin should keep her mouth shut about socialism, cause sounds like alot of capitalism these days.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  135. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Home ownership on a decline? What this says is that local governments have tripled their real estate taxes to pay for the stupid programs that they put in place to promote themselves. In 1998 I paid 59,000 for my house. When the next mayor was elected, they pushed the value of my property up to 199,000 and they expected me to pay taxes on that amount. Many people in my town have moved away and even months later I still see FOR SALE signs on their properties. Nobody can sell their property for a decent price because the corrupt local government has raised the property value to a ridiculous level to make up for some financial mistakes that they made.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  136. Ryan LeCompte

    Well I am only twenty years old, so I am new to the hustle and bustle of owning a home in today's tough economy, but it seems as though this trend is on a steady incline all around me. Friends and family are struggling everywhere owning homes, and it almost seems as if the only people who have much of any of the little opportunity in this country anymore are those who have a college education in a career field this country demands (as we see several incredibly educated college graduates working minimum wage jobs), those serving in the military, or those who are high on the corporate food chain. The dwindling state of our economy is straining more and more people, myself included, every day. I fear my future.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  137. Robert

    It means there's a less-than-perfect housing situation. big deal, we all know this already. If home ownership rates are down to 1998 levels, I wouldn't necessarily consider that too bad, considering most people in America thought that 1998 was a pretty good year economically. When the job situation improves, so will housing. Why continue to perpetuate such a 'doomsday-esque' outlook on this? Why not do an expose on how to improve your home's sale value? Inform the public on government assistance that can be put towards housing? Stop buying into hyperbolic media frenzy, Jack

    May 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  138. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Kiss the dream goodbye. The world is changing and our politician's ideas to keep up involve screwing the middle class and paying off those who least need the money. And Americans have become so accustomed to being on top they're willing to believe anyone who lies and tells them we're still no 1. I'm sure a lot of Romans thought the same thing before the fall of the Roman Empire.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  139. Cy Gardner

    The new American Dream: I wish I could cheat enough people out of money to be able to afford a house. We used to live under the rule of law; but, now that's a joke. We live under the rule of money. The income disparity in America is on a par with Uganda or the Ivory Coast. When all the money's gone and the richest one percent of Americans have private islands in Dubai, we will be Darfur. I no longer dream of avoiding this, I dream of dying before the worst befalls us. Me and the American Dream: not really living, so we must be dying.
    cy from Arlington, VA

    May 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  140. Dex

    Well Jack since I'm now apart of that decline in home ownership here in the US, I feel like the "American dream" is just different than before. I'll now dream of making money some day since I just lost my job. I'll dream of having a roof over my head some day since I had to sell my house as a short sale. And also dream of the better days when I was 6 or 7 years old and my brother and I had to heat up water on the stove to take a bath. The "American dream" for most of us has always been a different dream than was described to us in books or in the news or whoever seems to have control over that description. To be totally honest I don't even dream anymore...you have to sleep to do that, and I'm too damn stressed for that to happen!

    May 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  141. Janet,detroit

    The unrealistic prices place upon homes will continue to slow down the rebound of the housing industry, many people want to own their homes,but until more people get jobs. Nothing will improve.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  142. Terry in Montana

    The American Dream is fine, if you're rich.
    And the rich get rich, the poor get poorer, and the rest can't afford the dream. Those of us in the Baby Boom generation are basically scr-.
    Banks have their money (from the taxpayer), and now don't want to lend it out. Fattens their profits and CEO bonuses. Also, new well-intentioned though badly written legislation (thanks in part to the bank and wall street lobbies) have made it almost impossible to get a home loan for the average person. This recession began in the housing industry, and it will be the last to recover, and will never reach the unrealistic highs of the early parts of this century (not necessarily a bad thing).

    May 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  143. Shawn

    American Dream?!! How about American Nightmare! The dream is only alive and well for the wealthy. Where else in the world can you purposefully fraud homeowners, sell the fraud as securities (remember CWAB's and MERs), and then when the fraud goes bad, have these same criminals then turn around and take the property that they really don't have rights to. It is criminal and one of the reason why the dream is dead is that the people who should have prosecuted and behind bars are free, while the victims of these crimes are still being forced out of their homes.
    Jack, the dream will be resurrected when there is fairness in the market for all. When those who are constitutionally sworn to defend their constituents (and not their interest) in Washington stop running around with these banks and actually do their jobs, maybe people would feel a little better about homeownership.
    In 2012, a referendum needs to be sent by the people that this will not be tolerated any longer.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  144. Dez

    The decline in homes ownership is a troubling development. The American dream is being redefined. It is interesting to note that sales of luxury homes have steadily increased.Up more than 20%. It appears the American Dream is an American Reality for the wealthy and only a dream for everyone else.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  145. Mark in Austin

    Home ownership is down because the America (and the world) has changed greatly over the years, not only economically, but also technologically. The ease of getting a decent paying job and the affordability of housing have definitely changed. Most people could afford to buy a house while they were young in previous decades (from the postwar era through the end of the twentieth century). But in the twenty-first century our money gets spent paying for pricier must-have items - especially a healthcare system that drives people to bankruptcy - but also costly gasoline, cell phones, internet service, iPod music, video games and other high-tech medias. We have lost not only a home, but a sense of community as we put on the headphones and turn inward to our virtual worlds. Some of us just hope we will inherit a house purchased by our baby boomer parents.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  146. chuck naples,fla

    the dream became a nightmare..... this is really bad in florida where a loan was based on property value not if the consumer could afford it the mortgage companysdidnt even verify if the consumer had a job the housing market in florida is so bad that homes in collier and lee county that once worth over 300 t housand now they forclose and try to sell at 70 thousand but they sit empty yes the biggest home owner in southwest florida are the banks

    May 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  147. Bob in Texas

    The American Dream is alive and well, but it's just going to be a bit more difficult to achieve. Jack, the lose credit policies of the previous decade or two caused an overheated housing market driving prices up out of all reason. Inflation in housing over the past twenty years is well over 500%. Now comes the correction, fueled by overly tight credit policies. It's the old pendulum swing. What we need now is reasonable credit policies coupled with a more stable employment environment. When people lose jobs they lose homes. Those home go on the distressed property market and help drive down all real estate prices. Couple that with tight lending policies and high unemployment and underemployment and you've got a recipe for a housing crash.

    A Stable housing market requires a stable economy. A stable economy requires near full employment. Rational policies geared toward full employment coupled with fair and careful lending practices will bring stability to home price making home ownership practical once again.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  148. Dan

    Jack it doesn't mean anything. Who says that the "American Dream" means home ownership. Why does everyone need to own a home. It was this idea that got us in this mess in the first place. Not everyone needs to own a house in order to live the American Dream. I live in an apartment and I love it. The American Dream is the ability to live life the way you as an individual want to live it. It is not the end of the world that home ownership is at record lows, it just means that peoples preferences have changed. The fact that we as a society have created a normative standard by which others are judged points to everything that is flawed with this Country. Let people live their own lives and by there own preferences, and don't judge them by some abstract standard that has no significant relationship to how happy they are.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  149. Mit K.

    American dream should be redefined from buying a home to owning a home i.e. paying off the mortagage before retirement or earlier. It will encourage people to buy affordable homes and keep themselves out of the fear of foreclosure. Present system of subsidizing towns by federal money with tax rebate on property taxes is not an equitable financial model. It gives more federal mone to those who have more expensive property and to towns who tax more. Singapore has a very high percentage of home ownership – but they all own only an apartment.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  150. Bob Henderson

    The American Dream is quickly turning into the American Nightmare.
    Too many years of too many wars, too much easy credit, too much fast food, too many illegal immigrants, too much reliance on foreign oil, too many jobs gone off-shore, and too many more things to list.
    Will the sad epitaph read "America, destroyed by the Seven Deadly Sins"?

    Bob in London, Canada

    May 31, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  151. Scott Stimpson

    Jack, we live in a fool's paradise. We all want something for nothing and as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for... a lot of nothing. We whine and position ourselves with other whiners (or Weiners as the case may be) and then wonder why the dream is passing us by. It's a competitive environment and a numbers game. The Chinese and Indians have a full third of the world's population and are willing to work harder than we will for pennies on the dollar.

    Say goodbye to Hollywood!

    May 31, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  152. Rod Warren

    The American Dream? The American Dream has been an illusion for years. Deregulation, tax breaks for the rich, the accumulation of wealth by the richest 10% of Americans at the expense of the middle class! We have been sold a bill of goods, and we, the middle class have paid the bill willingly.

    I can't believe the Tea Party is a popular movement, backed mostly by the very people who the economy has ravaged. The earning power of the middle class has been stagnate since the 1970's. And, the Tea Party is supporting the rich fat cat Republican agenda that has put the middle class interests dead last behind the Banks, Big Business, and the ultra wealthy.

    Abe Lincoln said "you can't fool all the people all the time." Unfortunately, if you can pull the wool over the eyes of enough of the people long enough, you can pretty well get away with anything. And they have.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  153. Cy Gardner

    The American Dream has been outsourced. Look for it elsewhere. cy
    Arlington, VA

    May 31, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  154. jim - georgia

    It means there is no such thing as "the American dream". Most of us got where we are by hard work and until those sitting around waiting for the "dream" and "government handouts" go to work – things will not get any better. The unemployment rate in Georgia is well over 10% and farmers are very worried because a law was passed which cut down on employing illegal immigrants and no one else will do it. Until the deadbeats drawing unemployment are cut off and put to work there will be no end to it. I grew up working on a farm and it didn't hurt me. Any job is a good job when you don't have one and those on the unemployment roles should be cut off when there are jobs available no matter what and where they are.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  155. William

    It seems after reading the other posts here the American Dream has changed.We no longer want a color TV.We just want the box it came in so the baby has someplace to sleep.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  156. Denis

    I truly believe that the greed of the few have finally crippled the dreams of the many. We could totally kill it by reducing controls on the Banking System and let unfettered greed run rampant. How can the average Joe Blow get ahead and visualize his dream when most of our money is going to the very people who need it the least.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  157. Ana

    Americans have been slaves to credit cards for years. How can you save for emergencies or buy a home if you owe most of each paycheck to numerous credit cards with high interest rates.? Materialism, lack of discipline, and impulse buying of things not needed are the real souce of debt, bankruptcy and foreclosures.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  158. Nimmond Lockhart

    Hey Jack, do you not think that the decline of marriage has a lot to do with the decline in thehousing market. That "Leave It To Beaver" lifestyle has dissappered. So has the housing market. Young people are doing that "pay as you go thing".
    NL

    May 31, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  159. papa joe rollins/ orange, ca.

    homeownership dream/american dream; ditto, both down and in critical trouble. I'm profoundly grateful that upon retirement in the nezt few years, my wife and I will be sound and solvent. My fears are for my children and especially grandchildren due to the mess, (financial, economic, and political) that we are leaving them as an inheritance. Positively disgusting and frightening.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  160. Dean

    Jack, As long as big business owns congress another scheme will be created to exploit the American Dream of Home Ownership. The lenders make their profits by making home ownership affordable; profit vs.risk.
    The same cycle that got us to this point will be repeated and the risk will be higher and so will the profits. If it collapses again and it will, the same remedies will be applied. Perhaps, they can create a 60 year mortgage that your children can assume when there of legal age after you have been euthanized.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  161. Donna

    What American Dream? There is none as far as I'm concerned. I've been working full time for 40 years and have nothing to show for it. Nothing saved and don't own home or a new car. I'm over 55 and wondering if I'll ever be able to retire. It seems the whole system is messed up. The people who don't work get all the free benefits and those of us who work hard all their lives can barely keep up with all the rising costs of basic needs such as food, gas, medical costs & insurance and rent. The American Dream is just that ... A dream!

    Donna from Massachusetts

    May 31, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  162. mike

    The American dream is over! Our country has no jobs because we do not make anything anymore and most of our debt is to china, who could just sell off dollars and make it a real depression! No jobs, no money, no buying houses! mike cameron park ca.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  163. Jason Hawkins

    While I feel for those whom have sufffered due to declining real estate values, I am becoming much more excited that I will be able to afford a home of my own. If things keep going as they are, a mortgage will be the same as rent. It's not bad news for all of us, just those who made the decision to buy at the wrong time.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  164. Burt in Az

    We live in a free market society. The speculaters came in and drove up the prices just like they did with the oil market. Sooner or later the market will crash when the speculaters get out with their profits. I can't say I like it but that is the way it is. Greed rules.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  165. Joey

    Jack,

    What we need to turn this economy around is more unions like they have up north in places like Detroit. Just look at how the housing market is booming up there!! Oh yeah, We need to raise taxes on those dirty stinky rich people who create jobs so that they keep leaving places like Michigan and New Jersey and moving to places like Florida where help wanted signs and the jobs section of the newspaper continue to grow! Being a Floridian, I love this democrat plan of ours!!

    Go Obama Go!

    Joey,
    Florida

    May 31, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  166. Dexter Atlanta

    The amercian is now the amercian nightmare

    May 31, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  167. William O Mozee

    I have been a real estate agent for 23 years . I have not been able to sale a property in 2.5 years. With FHA tighten it's guide lines ,no jobs
    shorts sales, and foreclosure the home dream is in the tank. I loss
    $50,000 in income plus my home is in foreclosure. Obama should
    have done more, gave the bailouts to the wrong people.Where is the
    love?

    May 31, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  168. dave in nashville

    I've had 6500 sq. ft., 2600 sq. ft. and 1500 sq.ft., and the smallest one has been the best to have a life outside the home. The dream is not dead, just the equity. No more free profits from buying homes, it's about time.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  169. Asterisk

    Home ownership is changing to renters that don't have the hassle of dealing with ownership. But times are chaning with owning a home many people don't want to own a home. But when Bush was in office everything was Bush fault now its the President fault. Jobs creation is up to the state you live in, your state needs to find ways to get the jobs in your state. The President can fix some things but not everything. But it seems we blame the President for everything. We should be happy we live in United States instead of some other country. it could be worse. We should be happy what we have here, and not take our freedom for granted. If you don't own a home and live in a apartment make the best of it and if you rent a home make the best of it and be happy.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  170. Sandstone.

    "It means "As is. I by quite a few thing's at the Thrift stores, but I know how to fix them. Look before you leap too high. Jack!"

    May 31, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  171. Karl L Reitter

    The american dream of homeownership vanished when GREED & SPECULATIONS took over.
    I purchased my home in Oct. 2003 for $198k – six month later the builder was selling the same homes for $298k – an increase of $100k in about six month – why was there such a price increase – the answer is SPECULATION & GREED
    People who could not qualify were given those adjustable mortgages and could buy homes at $0 down – complete IRRESPONSIBLE – the result a huge melt down and a record of foreclosures.
    The dream of homeownership may return when all the GREED & SPECULATION is abandoned – However at 76 years of age I do not think that I will see that return.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  172. papa joe rollins/ orange, ca.

    Home ownership/American dream, both down and in critical trouble. I'm prfoundly grateful that upon my retirement in the next few years, my wife and I will be financially sound and solvent. My greatest fears concern my children and grandchildren primarily due to the financial, political and economic we as a nation are leaving them as an inheritance. I find this situation positively disgusting and frightening

    May 31, 2011 at 6:52 pm |