According to the National Journal, the ideal of American home ownership may have been tarnished during the recession, as the values of so many homes plummeted and the number of foreclosures across the country soared. But for many Americans, the emotional rush of buying a home still represents a significant marker of stability and financial success. Buying often gives families access to safer neighborhoods, better schools, and more services than renting. And, like it or not, home ownership still offers the best way to save money for the majority of Americans by building up equity, especially in this era of dwindling pensions and stagnant wages. "It is a forced saving mechanism, and if you don't have to think about saving, it goes better," says Brett Theodos, a senior research associate at the nonpartisan think tank, the Urban Institute.
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