The American Dream is alive and well, consumers say - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Real Estate

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The American Dream is alive and well, consumers say

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Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 4:20 pm

No one can deny the Great Recession left a permanent mark on our nation and its economy. But what effect did it have on the American Dream of home ownership? That’s the question we set out to answer by asking Phoenix-based Benchmark Research Technologies to survey nearly 1,700 Arizona new home shoppers about their attitudes surrounding home ownership in the post-recession era.

According to the survey results, the traditional notion of the American Dream of home ownership remains a primary goal for many, as some experts have speculated. Here is a sampling of key survey findings: the American Dream of home ownership survived the recession, the American Dream of home ownership is alive and well to 82 percent of the consumers polled.

When research participants were asked, “Do you believe the American Dream of home ownership is still relevant?,” a vast majority answered in the affirmative, including homeowners who were starting over after a recession-related loss, such as a short-sale or foreclosure.

Home ownership remains important

Another question asked was how the economy changed homeowners’ opinions about the importance of home ownership, in general. Respondents were asked to compare their beliefs now to those they held before the recession.

More than half — 60 percent — said the recession didn’t change their beliefs about the importance of home ownership at all. A quarter — 26 percent — said they felt home ownership was more important now than it was before, and 14 percent said it was less important now.

The recession increased some home-shoppers’ options

Many of those surveyed managed to find a silver lining in the recession. Slightly more than 25 percent answered the question “How has the recession impacted your efforts to buy a home?” by reporting their options had increased since the end of the economic downturn. This likely is due to a combination of downward pricing pressure and improving job stability.

At the other end of the spectrum, 16 percent of consumers said the recession caused them to put their home-buying plans on hold.

Not surprisingly, first-time buyers and current homeowners were two to three times more likely to believe the recession has increased their home-buying options compared with people who no longer own their pre-recession home.

The overall conclusion regarding the state of the post-recession American Dream? It appears to be right at home in the “new normal.”

• Andy Warren is president of Maracay Homes, the Arizona subsidiary of the Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company. He serves on the board of directors for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona and Greater Phoenix Leadership; as well as the board of directors and as an executive committee member with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute.

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Keystone Montessori

[David Jolkovski/AFN]
Teacher Pily Pantoja helps Sarah Wang, 4, with the addition snake game at Keystone Montessori on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.

Keystone Montessori has come a long way since its founding in 1995. Back then it was operated out of the founder’s home before eventually moving on to rent rooms from Horizon Presbyterian Church. It was only in 2000 that they had gained a strong enough enrollment to move into the facility where they currently reside on Liberty Lane, just off Desert Foothills Parkway and across from the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

The school services students as young as 18 years old, as part of their toddler program, and as old as ninth-graders. The current enrollment is around 320 students, who all have access to Spanish, music and arts programs in addition to the full Montessori curriculum.

“We provide an authentic Montessori education which focuses on the independence and whole development of the child, including academic as well as social and emotional growth,” said head of school Cindy Maschoff. “We want our students to become independent citizens of the world.”

The school will be taking the time to present the concept of Montessori education to the public Jan. 29 and 30. At the presentations the school will provide a clear understanding of what Montessori education looks like at each level of education. Those wanting to attend should plan on going to both meetings, with the Jan. 29 meeting going from 6-7 p.m. and the Jan. 30 meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meetings require attendees to RSVP, which can be done by emailing laura@keystonemontessori.com.

For more information, visit keystonemontessori.com.

• Compiled by James Gingerich.

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