Freedom from Debt Trumps Home Ownership

While Americans still want home ownership, freedom from debt is more important, said respondents to a survey from, LLC.

Thirty-four percent said they consider being debt free to be the new American dream. Owning a home and being more financially stable than their parents followed closely behind, with 25% of respondents choosing ownership of a home as priority, and 25% choosing the option of being better off financially than their parents.

“For many, owning a home will always be the ultimate American dream,” said Jim Svinth, chief economist for the Foothill Ranch, California-based loanDepot. “But consumers are more knowledgeable than ever about debt management and understand the importance of financial freedom. Ultimately, a homeowner who is free from other types of debt can own more of a home and make other wise investments.”

The survey also found more than half (62%) of respondents expect home values to increase, with only 15% anticipating a decrease. With home values found to be on the rise, the survey posited that opportunities to tap into a home’s equity will also increase.

When asked how they would make use of available home equity, more than half of respondents said they would use it toward other finances and savings, namely by paying down debt (34%) and putting it toward retirement (27%).

The Opinion Research Corporation conducted the online survey on behalf of loanDepot between September 19 and 22, 2013. Those queried included 1,017 adults, 18 years of age and older.