The state of the housing industry in the United States is dire in 2011, with debt loads mounting and home values plummeting. Some of the details of just how bad the home buying market is in America are nothing short of astounding, and some would say downright disheartening.

But, is there hope for those of us who want to enjoy homeownership without the worries of crushing debt-load and the bleak forecasts of a future where recovery seems so remote?

The fact is this; Americans view homeownership as a part of their cultural inheritance. This stands to reason in general, as the idea of a home of one’s own is an important part of what it means to be secure, and to have some control over how stable that security actually is. Arguably, of course, this sense of cultural inheritance is part of what started the problem in the first place, with unregulated banks riding the wave of unrealistic buyer expectations and the associated unsustainable payment plans to support them. Yet, the impulse to own a home is a pure one.

Homeownership is still a goal

Even though pundits are saying that an end to the home buying slump is some distance away, people are still looking to buy. Owning a home is still an ideal to which people in the U.S, and really all over the world, aspire. Homeownership is a cardinal life-goal that people are willing to defend, and  to secure the possibility that their children can be homeowners, too.

The next step is discovering ways to do this in concert with governement, with private industry and commerce, and with fellow citizens to find a way through the storm and into the bright light of a sustainable economy as a whole. And even in this dire time, I think there’s hope; because the building industry is evolving.

Housing bust and the green building movement

Tied to a recovering housing market is the burgeoning green building movement, with houses being built smarter, not bigger. Green building practices represent a growth market with the built in dividends of energy efficiency savings, and with a smarter approach to how resources and their associated costs are managed when building sturdy, long-lasting, and (most importantly) affordable housing.  Add to that the rising alternative energy and green inspections job sectors, and a glimmer of hope in the shadows of economic downturn can certainly be seen.

Of course, I don’t think that this means that things will return to the way things were before the bust. I think home buyers and the agencies that support the purchase of a home need to re-think strategy.

Housing market recovery: short-term wins

Unlike the instant pay-off impulses that fueled the bust, I think the keys to recovery are likely to come in the form of a series of short-term wins, as we learn more about how to build, how to finance, and how to buy smarter. To attain these wins, North American culture will need to re-define expectations around home buying and selling at all levels…(Read full original article here…)