CHICAGO (WBBM) — A new survey finds home ownership is still the American dream, even with home values plunging and the housing market mired in recession.

Pew Research reports that eight out of 10 people believe that owning a home is the best long-term investment.

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“It has been talked about for generations as kind of an emblem of the American Dream,” said Paul Taylor, the Pew study’s director. “It remains that way.”

There has been some decline in the public’s faith, however. Today, 37 percent “strongly agree” while 44 percent “somewhat agree” that home ownership is the best investment a person can make, according to Pew. When this same question was asked two decades ago in a CBS News/New York Times survey, 49 percent “strongly agreed” and 35 percent “somewhat agreed.”

Those who don’t own a home still aspire to it, Taylor said.

“More than three quarters of renters say, “No, I’d like to own a home someday,’ ” he said. “Home ownership is still a great lure.”

That lure is remarkable, given that the housing market is mired in the longest and deepest decline in recent memory. Home prices are down by 31 percent from their pre-recession peak in July 2006, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

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