Poll: U.S. Worried about Social Mobility & Housing Affordability

Poll: U.S. Worried about Social Mobility & Housing Affordability
Hart Research Associates
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The third annual How Housing Matters public opinion survey found a steady reduction in the share of Americans who believe we are still in the midst of the housing crisis, yet substantial concerns about social mobility and housing affordability. The results are based on interviews of more than 1400 adults between April 27 and May 5, 2015. The poll was conducted by Hart Research Associates and commissioned by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Major findings:

  • Americans agree that housing affordability is a problem, but are less sure how to solve it. 81% of Americans believe housing affordability is a problem, with 36% saying it is a very serious problem. Despite this consenus, the public is divided on the federal responsibility for addressing it. 53% think housing affordability is not the federal government’s responsibility, and 39% say it is.
  • More than ½ of Americans want elected officials to do more on housing affordability. 55% of Americans want their state or local elected officials to prioritize housing affordability, and 50% want the same of federal elected officials. Yet just 14% believe elected officials, at any level, treat housing affordability as a high priority.
  • Housing crisis concerns are high but waning. 61% of Americans believe we are “still in the middle” of the housing crisis or that “the worst is yet to come.” This is down from 70% in 2014 and 77% in 2013.
  • Few believe upward mobility is possible. 79% of Americans think it is more likely for “middle-class people (to fall) into a lower economic class” than for “people in lower economic classes (to rise) into the middle class.”
  • A majority thinks the path to wealth through homeownership is eroding. 62% believe it is either somewhat or much less likely to build wealth through homeownership today compared with 20-30 years ago.
  • But more than half see long-term value in owning a home. 56% believe buying a home is an excellent long-term investment, and 70% of non-owners aspire to own a home one day.