The percentage of U.S. residents who say owning a home is an essential part of the American dream has hit a three-year high, reaching 79 percent, according to the CNBC-All-America Economic Survey. What’s more, the number of Americans who say it is better to own than rent grew by four points to 69 percent, according to the survey.

More Americans also believe owning a home is a better long-term investment than stocks.

“The housing numbers are all heading in the right direction,” reports Diana Olick for CNBC. “Home prices up, foreclosures down and, perhaps the most important, consumer confidence in housing is swelling.”

Still, first-time home buyers will be the “wild card” in the spring-summer home buying season, says Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys. “We see strong first-time homebuyer traffic, but it’s still not clear that the traffic will translate into increased purchases because first-time home buyers are dependent on low downpayment financing, such as FHA mortgages.”

Source: “People Are Becoming More and More Confident in Housing Market,” CNBC (April 1, 2013)

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