Thanks once again MG!
"Is it because they are hopelessly status-obsessed and, having nothing else going for them, see their "ownership" as their only bragging rights?"
Yes...particularly for low to middle income females who need to have an established pecking-order in order to feel secure. The more untalented, uncreative, unattractive, uneducated, unproductive, and un-moneyed someone is, generally, the more they tend to put an emphasis on homeownership as *the* primary carrier of social status.
Most homeowner women look like those featured on Extreme Makeover or 10 Years Younger. In NB and upscale cities such as Manhattan, and upscale suburbs such as Westchester County, the Hanptons, etc, my observation does not apply, but generally, across the board, homeowner women look like crap and I can almost always detect whether a woman is a homeowner or not due to clues in her appearance.
Further, female homeowners imagine homeownership gives them unassailable status over female renters for no other reason than they own a mortgage. Odd, because without a husband's income, most of these homeowner women would be renters themselves.
Realtors are responsible for this attitude - telling the public over and over again how superior owning is compared to renting and putting renters in a sub-citizen category. Family pressures are another factor since renters are generally demonized in family conversations.
A certain number of Americans believe religiously that once a baby is on the way a couple *MUST* BUY A HOUSE, BECAUSE AFTER ALL, THAT IS WHAT NORMAL PEOPLE DO. There is a new term to describe the "normalcy" of this behavior and its called the "nesting" instinct.
The good thing is that financial institutions have wised-up and have tightened lending standards that were abandoned after 9/11, so there will be less homeowners who are occupying property. There is a real shake-down going on now and is the reason the dollar has sunk in value and gas is $4.60/gal.
Since Scottsdale has been transformed from an upper-middle class city to a low-income city, the low-income and mid-income residents there will be slow to accept a change in social status for renters. Those of us with money have never needed to engage in this pecking-order behavior - after all, Jennifer Aniston rented a $25k/month Malibu beachfront home and no one scorned her for being a renter. In NB, people rent all the time and in various cities around the world, so renting is no big deal.