Buying a house not part of the 'American dream' for some

Posted October 21, 2011

— The shaky economy has some college graduates rethinking the traditional "American dream" of buying a house.

North Carolina State University senior Ben Galphin is more focused on looking for jobs all over the country.

"Everybody strived for that coming out of school – get a job, buy a house, start a family, the whole thing," mortgage banker Jeremy Salemson said Wednesday. “Now, the reality is they are not finding jobs or not finding jobs that are paying enough to feel they can qualify for a traditional mortgage."

Many people are opting to rent, which homeowner Jackie Armstrong sees as a waste of money.

“I would encourage people my age to buy a house, because if I had not stayed here for 18 months and was renting, I would have spent around $18,000,” she said. “That’s a considerable amount. Even if I sell this for as much as I bought it 18 months ago, I'm still not throwing money away.”

Armstrong cautioned that people should be confident and stable in a job before opting for a mortgage, a big fear for 20-somethings in the recent economy.

“If things continue to go down, would I have a paycheck?” Galphin worried. “It's something where I don't want to be sealed in to a 20-year agreement with a bank and can't hold up my end of the bargain.”

Housing sales, foreclosure College grads not looking at real estate

Salemson said the Triangle housing market has fared better than other areas, in part because of the diverse work opportunities in the area.


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  • simplelogic Oct 24, 2011

    There are pros and cons to both renting and buying - renting could be a better option in the long run, with no maintenance, taxes or other homeowner expenses. There's a lot more to buying a home than the downpayment and mortgage. The money stashed away (if you're smart) from renting instead of buying could add up to a nice equity substitute.

  • methinkthis Oct 24, 2011

    The ownership of a house is a nice goal but home ownership is not necessary for happiness or success in life. It is also not a right but a privilege earned. Some people will choose careers that do not pay enough to buy a house in certain areas. Some may have to save for years to get the down payment. Some people do not have the skills or motivation to earn enough to buy a house or maintain a house. Some of these people were given mortgages prior to the meltdown and that is what caused the meltdown, unqualified buyers. They could not budget to make the payments or do the things necessary to care for a house. A house is a big responsibility. One fact needs to be accepted. It is not the responsibility of government to provide the capability for everyone to buy a house. There will always be people who somehow can buy mansions and there will always be people who should always rent.

  • Riddickfield Oct 21, 2011

    Basically if you live in a house for a couple of years, its a break even proposition. Any equity you built up gets taken away by the real estate agent's commission. Rent for the first 5 years out of college until you find a job with some stability. You will probably change jobs once or twice in that time and likely move. The first job gets your foot in the door which sets you up for the second 'real' job which you get based on experience.

  • vraptor Oct 21, 2011

    The American Dream is alive and well for people who want to get educated / trained and work hard to get ahead and make money.

    From what I hear. Top computer science graduates from NCSU are getting starting salaries of about $60k and have huge career opportunities if they work hard.

  • mep Oct 21, 2011

    Not everyone can afford the so-called "American dream" of owning a home. And thanks to Frank and Dodd, a vast majority of Americans are suffering from the laws enacted that allowed those that could not really afford a home to buy one anyway.... all backed by the taxpayers money of course.

  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Oct 21, 2011

    Not "everybody" strives to start a family! LOL! OMG! Not, I, at least. Don't have any kids and don't want them. I just strive to get up and go to work each day. That's good enough for me. :-)


  • westernwake1 Oct 21, 2011

    Politicans on both sides of the aisle have pushed ownership and then colluded with the financial industry to create lack lending standards and to allow commerical and investment banks to merge.

    This created the entire CDO driven mortgage industry and country wide real estate bubble.

    There is plenty of blame to go around for the housing bust.

  • Henry Bourne Oct 21, 2011

    I've heard some pretty good arguments against home ownership. It's not always that great. Check out Peter Schiff:

  • Vita Brevis Ars Longa Oct 21, 2011

    The Republicans have been pushing "the American Dream" for far too long. Turns out that their version is in fact a nightmare that few of us are interested in anymore.

  • ncguy Oct 21, 2011

    barney Frank thought every American should own a home regardless if they could afford it or not.

    and here we are in an economic down fall because of it.