The American Dream has often been described as owning a home, that nostalgia for home ownership though seems to be disappearing rapidly.
Remember the housing bubble from 2000 to 2007? Well it seems the only thing we know for certain about market bubbles is ... they burst! All those positive numbers from those few years - they're all gone now.
Census Bureau data reveals the nation's homeownership rate gained almost a percent during the start of the decade. Since 2007 - it lost 1.3 percentage points, wiping out any gains from the big boom. The Wall Street Journal points out only about 66% of Americans owned homes at the end of last year - that's the lowest rate since 1998!
And it's not getting better as many expect that rate to slip even further - as foreclosures continue to pile up. But the sob story is not equal for every region of the country. The Midwest can boast a greater than 70% home ownership rate... but it too saw a nearly one percent decline year over year. The West by far has the worst numbers - with only 61% of residents owning homes.
But as the Journal points out - the positive side of this is for renters, landlords and apartment builders. The senior director of Invesco real estate says: "Historically, there's … been a subtle disdain in many markets if you're a renter. That stigma is going to go away."
One data-provider predicts 23,000 multifamily units will be completed this year, 95,000 next year, and more than 100,000 in 2013.
Now while this is good news for that particular market, I don't want this to become the norm. Americans should own homes - it should be the American Dream, and it can be again.
Get rid of HAMP, get rid of Fannie and Freddie, get the government out of our homes and get back to the basics of homeownership. Save your money and buy a house you can afford.
Gerri Willis is the host of "The Willis Report" (6 & 9PM/ET), a primetime program that covers the leading financial and political stories of the day and their impact on consumers. Click here to see more from Gerri Willis.