The one story we tell ourselves about homeownership is it is a path to a more stable, equitable future. The idea is that it is a responsible decision that requires commitment and hope. It is centered around bright futures, long lives, children, grandchildren, and hard-earned success.
The second story is about the horror of being trapped, especially for the members of the cash-poor, dream-rich millennial generation.
The idea of owning a suburban home was fed to Americans by people in power: Suburbia has always been suitable for industry.
Big houses = big appliances. This fed the coal, steel, and automaking industries. With it came cars and oil that made the postwar American suburb possible. It is all as much a creature of government as of the market.
The climate crisis and carbon dependency make potential homeowners reconsider the effects of suburban sprawl.
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack and the market crash of 2008 sowed a sense of instability and propagated fears.
There is a widespread shift in how people view their first real estate purchase. They buy because it makes sense and because they don’t want to be “mortgage poor.”
It is no longer seen as a home, but merely as a place for comfortable living without paying rent. It is a way of accumulating wealth without having to do much else.
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