Americans are losing faith that the housing crisis that began nearly a decade ago is over, according to a study released Thursday by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The number of people who believed the crisis was easing was growing until this year when it took a downward turn, according to the "2016 How Housing Matters Survey" of 1,200 adults.
Eight-one percent of the respondents think housing affordability is a problem in America today, according to the survey, but even more telling is the fact that only 29 percent now believe the housing crisis of the last decade is over. That number had been going up from 20 percent in 2013, to 25 percent in 2014, to 35 percent last year before taking a plunge this year, the survey says.
Forty-four percent think the crisis is still going on and 19 percent think the worst is yet to come.
“Too many Americans today believe the dream of a decent, stable home, and the prospects for social mobility, are receding,” says Julia Stasch, president of the MacArthur Foundation. “Having a decent, stable, affordable home is about more than shelter: It is at the core of strong, vibrant and healthy families and communities. This survey demonstrates that the public wants action to address the nation’s real and pervasive housing affordability challenges.”
While 68 percent see securing housing today as more of a challenge than it was for previous generations, 63 percent believe a great deal or fair amount can be done to address the problem and an equal percentage believes this issue has not yet received enough attention from presidential candidates.
The view that affordable housing should be a priority among policymakers is strong across the political spectrum, and is held by 88 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of Independents and 62 percent of Republicans, the survey says.
Like last year, 53 percent of the respondents say they made sacrifices over the past three years to be able to cover their rent or mortgage, including taking on an additional job or more hours at work, stopping saving for retirement, accumulating credit-card debt or cutting back on healthy food or health care. Sixteen percent, which represents 37 million Americans, feel insecure or somewhat insecure about their housing situation, the survey shows.
Large majorities of the respondents want the tax code changed to help those earning between $40,000 and $70,000 a year to buy homes and want housing support expanded for low-income families with children. They would like developers to be allowed to build more units if they include some targeted to families earning less than $50,000 a year and communities to be required to ensure that 20 percent of housing is affordable to families earning less than $50,000 a year.