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Conflicting studies on American sentiment about homeownership

Comparing studies side by side

We recently reported that Pew poll results revealed news that 81% of Americans view homeownership as the best investment one could make.

The only problem is that Fannie Mae also conducted a recent poll that revealed a far lower number. We decided to take a look at the data side by side to determine what Americans really think about homeownership.

Who was polled

Both Fannie Mae and Pew regularly poll and they are both internationally recognized data sources with transparent polling methods. It should first be said that both organizations polled via telephone and both restrict calls to registered land lines which recent data (and common sense) points to phone polling as skewing toward older demographics as younger consumers are trending toward only having a mobile phone account. Some studies have even argued that landline owners lean Republican, but we digress.

Pew called 2,000 Americans over the age of 18 while Fannie Mae called 3,407 giving them a larger sample size (which is not necessarily an indicator of superiority in data accuracy).

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Of those surveyed, 57% of Pew poll respondents and 67% of Fannie Mae respondents were homeowners (either owning outright or paying a mortgage). We point to this as an indicator of attitude- a renter may feel differently about homeownership than an owner.

Sentiments toward homeownership

Of Pew poll participants, 81% reported real estate as the best investment, down 3% since 1991. Of that 81%, those that “somewhat agreed” dropped 28.5% in that period while those that strongly agreed rose 19%. Of Fannie Mae participants, 64% believed in homeownership, down 19% since 2003.

Comparing the two studies reveal different numbers, but the same result remains- more Americans believe in the value of homeownership (sellers and renters alike) than don’t believe. The numbers have slipped, but the majority still lean positively toward homeownership.

Do you think the percentage of Americans valuing homeownership will rise or fall by 2015? Tell us in comments your thoughts.

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  1. Mark Brian

    April 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Some are going to believe what ever they hear on TV or read, so the position that the media takes on the value of home ownership will play a big role in future polls.

    Also, please remember that 87% of statistics are made up, including this one.

  2. MH for Movoto

    April 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Ooooh, weird. I recently wrote about the Pew results too (, and frankly i was pretty surprised to see how positive they were. Fannie Mae's feel a little more down-to-earth and realistic to me personally.

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