Housing still best investment despite downturn: study

Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:16pm EDT
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By Tim Gaynor

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Even as a five-year slump in house prices drags on, eight-out-of-10 Americans say bricks and mortar remain the best long-term investment, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The survey by the Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends project found that 81 percent of respondents see housing as the best investment a person can make, despite a slump in prices that has knocked nearly a third off home values since 2006.

"The resilience of the American public's belief in the investment value of home ownership is pretty impressive," Paul Taylor, the project's director and a co-author of the report, told Reuters.

"In modern economic history we've never had a five-year period where home values have fallen as long or as far as they have now," he added.

U.S. home prices were down by around 32 percent at the start of this year from their pre-recession peak in July 2006, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released late last month.

After a pause last year, prices fell again in the first quarter of this year, the Pew Research Center said.

The telephone survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults, between March 15 and March 29 this year.

It found that while the American public continued to believe in housing as an investment, there had been some falloff in the intensity of their faith.   Continued...

<p>A realtor sign is displayed near a house for sale in Phoenix, Arizona, January 4, 2011. REUTERS/Joshua Lott</p>