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Home Ownership is the Foundation of the American Dream

More view home ownership as an attainable goal for middle-income Americans

September 16, 2014

BLOOMINGTON – Although the memory of the mortgage crisis is just a foreclosure sign or vacant lot away , for an overwhelming majority of Americans, home ownership remains a highly desirable goal. According to the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index® survey, 89 percent of Americans feel that buying a home is an important part of achieving the American Dream.


Most Americans value home ownership, and they also view it as more attainable than they have in years past. Sixty-four percent believe owning a home is an attainable goal for a typical middle-income family, which is a significant increase from 2013, when just 41 percent saw home ownership as an attainable goal.


For those who currently don’t own a home, financial limitations represent some of the biggest barriers.

Fourteen percent say a low credit score is the primary obstacle in their way of owning a home.

Americans also cite a lack of a down payment (13 percent) and the price of homes in the area (12 percent) as impediments.


“We’re very encouraged that so many Americans feel optimistic about home ownership and view it as a realistic and achievable goal,” said Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. “This is a dramatic increase from last year, when less than half felt like home ownership was attainable for a middle-income family. An improving economy and labor market might be helping to lift Americans’ spirits and place buying a home closer within reach.”


Homeowners Have the Future in Mind


Most homeowners view their home as the cornerstone of their financial future. Seventy-eight percent of Americans feel their home is their most important or somewhat most important asset when it comes to retirement. Also, a majority of homeowners don’t plan on moving anytime soon. More than half (56 percent) say their home is a long-term investment of ten years or more to help fund retirement goals. Half of Americans also said they would avoid taking out a home equity loan unless absolutely necessary.


A Generational Divide


Regardless of age or income, an overwhelming majority of Americans uphold the idea that home ownership is an important part of the American Dream. However, different generations have varying opinions on whether or not that dream is actually attainable or even desirable.

Those ages 30-39 (26 percent) and those ages 50-64 (20 percent) are more likely to say owning a home is not an attainable goal for a middle-income family.

For Americans who aren’t home owners, many of those under age thirty and ages 50-64 have no interest in owning a home, 25 percent and 20 percent, respectively.


“While nearly everyone pictures a home as the American Dream, reality often looks different,” added Buhrmann. “Younger Americans are more likely to reject the idea of home ownership. Yet, the financial challenges of buying a home can affect those of any age. If home ownership is in your future, it’s vital to begin planning and saving as soon as possible.”


The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®

Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans’ sentiments of their personal financial security. The COUNTRY Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. Survey data, videos and analysis are available at and on Twitter at @FinanceSecure.


The COUNTRY Index was created by COUNTRY Financial and is compiled by GfK, an independent research firm. Surveys were conducted using GfK’s KnowledgePanel TM, a national, probability-based panel designed to be representative of the general population and includes responses from approximately 1,000 U.S. adults for national surveys. The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.


About COUNTRY Financial

COUNTRY Financial ( serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.