A large proportion of Americans continue to face housing challenges, according to a new survey by the MacArthur Foundation.
The 2014 How Housing Matters Survey found that Americans continue to make sacrifices to afford their housing payments, are concerned about finding quality affordable rental and homeownership opportunities in their communities, and believe that the country’s housing environment is changing.
“The continuing stresses felt by the vast majority of Americans in the aftermath of the housing recession are real and profound,” says Julia Stasch, MacArthur’s vice president of U.S. programs. “This survey provides real insight into the substantial burden of costly and unstable housing, particularly for low- and moderate-income families.”
Hart Research Associates conducted its second annual survey by telephone April 8-14 among a nationally representative sample of 1,355 adults, including 243 who only have a cell phone and oversamples of renters and owners who spend more than 30 percent of their household income on their monthly rent or mortgage payments.
While many experts say the housing crisis is behind us, the majority of respondents disagreed: 51 percent believe that that we are still in the midst of the crisis and 19 percent said they think the worst is yet to come.
“For most Americans, the housing crisis is hardly a thing of the past,” says Geoffrey Garin, president of Hart Research Associates.
And while most non-owners, 70 percent, still aspire to own a home someday, attitudes regarding homeownership are changing. A little more than half of adults believe that owning a home has become less appealing in today’s environment, while 54 percent believe renting has become more appealing.
The survey found that more than half of all U.S. adults, renters and owners, have had to make at least one sacrifice, including accumulating credit card debt, cutting back on health care, and stopping retirement savings, over the past three years to maintain their housing.
The number is even higher for distressed renters and owners. Three in four distressed renters (74 percent) and 62 percent of distressed owners have made at least one sacrifice in the past three years.
The survey also found that Americans believe it’s very or somewhat challenging to find affordable quality housing: 58 percent for rentals and 59 percent for homeownership opportunities. Almost two-thirds of respondents agreed that it’s even more challenging for families living at or below the poverty line to find affordable housing.
To solve the affordability challenges in their communities, respondents believe that the government should provide more assistance to ensure affordable housing options. Sixty-one percent believe that “a great deal” or “a fair amount” can be done to solve the affordability problems, but a solid majority said they want the federal government to invest in both affordable rental and homeownership solutions equally.
To view the full report, visit http://www.macfound.org/media/files/How_Housing_Matters_2014_FINAL_REPORT.pdf.