NEW YORK (7/1/11)--Despite the housing crisis, nearly 90% of Americans polled in June continue to say homeownership is an important part of the American dream and that people in financial crisis over housing should get support. They also increasingly blame financial institutions and lenders for the housing problems. In the nationwide telephone poll, conducted by The New York Times
Juny 24-28 with 979 adults, researchers found blame for the financial crisis is shifting from regulators to financial institutions (The New York Times
June 30). In the most recent poll, 42% blamed lenders and 29% blamed regulators. That compares with 28% and 40%, respectively, in the publications' 2008 poll. A few respondents in each poll blamed borrowers who took on loans they couldn't afford. Consumers polled also indicated more support for helping people in financial crisis over housing than for supporting those without jobs for months. About 45% of respondents said the government should do more to improve the housing market; 16% said it should do less. Roughly 53% said the government should help people who are having trouble paying their mortgages. Almost all said the mortgage tax deduction should not be eliminated. Other findings:
* Roughly 45% of respondents said buying a home is risky; before the financial crisis, housing was considered one of the safest investments. * Half of those surveyed said the market downturn affected their long-term plans, with one in five respondents saying the crisis prevented them from moving to another city or taking a different job. * Nearly 25% of those surveyed said their home is worth less now than what they owe on their mortgage. * Those who said the economy's downturn is permanent rose to 39%, up from 28%. * Many respondents dismissed stocks as a long-term savings vehicle in favor of a savings or money market account (22%); a house (26%); or a 401(k) or individual retirement account (41%). * Roughly 58% said lenders should require a 20% down payment when selling a house; 36% said they should not. * Of those surveyed, 28% said that strategic default (foreclosing on a home because it has lost too much value) is justified. * Three-fourths of respondents said neighborhood foreclosures are a problem in their communities.