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

Posted October 21, 2011 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated October 21, 2011 7:10 p.m. EDT

— 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.”

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