If I told you there is a way for you to live happier, healthier, accumulate wealth and build social status; would you be interested?
What if at the same time you could boost the educational performance of your children and lower your chance of becoming a victim of crime? Do I have your interest peeked even greater?
Finally, what if in addition to the above mentioned opportunities you would realize higher civic participation, enhance your volunteering activity and lessen any need for public assistance? Is there anyone reading who I haven’t created a mild case of curiosity in now?
In 1931 James Truslow Adams coined in his book, “The Epic of America” the concept of; “The American Dream.” He stated: “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement… a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
My contention is the “American Dream” by Adams, contains as an essential element, the opportunity for each of us to own our own homes. Homeownership through many independent studies, over many years, has proven to provide all of the benefits discussed above. Let me take just a little time with you to cover some detail on each of them.
Homeownership, in addition to the benefits I cited above, accounted for 14 percent of the United States economic activity in the housing sector alone. Homeowner’s real estate holdings totaled $16,500,000,000,000.00 ($16.5 trillion, included 000’s for effect) in 2010. This is after all the devastation we have realized in our “Great Recession.” If we subtract liabilities, the net value (equity) of American homeowner’s in 2010 is $6.3 trillion; astounding!
If we go back to the turn of the 20th Century American’s homeownership rate was below 50%. It has gradually increased to a record high in 2004 of 69% and is currently hovering around 67% as I write this piece.
A fact discussed as a component of adding the benefits I have covered is the stability homeownership provides to community. A homeowner moves far less frequently than does a renter. The difference is staggering; a renter changes residence 6 times as often as do homeowners. Homeowners who do move cite they do so: first– to a better home or neighborhood, second– for family reasons and lastly– for employment.
Homeowner’s have positive impact on their children in both achieving higher levels of education and reducing deviant behavior. Studies show the home purchase is one of the largest financial decisions we make; homeowners tend show greater responsibility through managing the financial commitment and maintaining skills required to handle the payments. Additionally, bad behavior which would detract from the value is minimized in the home and parents help, “police the neighborhood” eliminating similar activities outside. It comes to reason that with children reaching higher levels of education their earning capacity improves as well.
Children who grow up in a home, which is owned, have a much higher probability of becoming a homeowner. Part of our societies push to improve learning should include a strategy to promote homeownership.
Civic duties increase as the natural move from spending time and money maintaining the home, spills over into interest in the quality of the surrounding community. The political process too is improved as incentives to protect the neighborhood are managed through concern over who is making community decisions. Homeowners vote at a much higher percentage (nearly 50% more) than do renters. Too, homeowners know the names of school board members and elected officials twice as often as do renters.
Volunteering increases as does attendance in churches. The reason suggested for this, is simply the stability of the homeowner equates to their interest in engaging in the community; this comes in a variety of ways.
Ownership includes the feeling of individual autonomy, through possessing our own property. Wealth is created with the appreciation of the asset, which over time has proven to be reliable investment. Homeowner’s are better able to deal with financial setbacks or deal with being laid off because they can access their equity. This gives community self-reliant citizens who don’t require as much public assistance.
As people become homeowners they are likely to have higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem and a higher perceived control of their life. The homeowners develop a sense of being able to do things as well as anyone participating in stable relationships. Homeowner’s feel self-fulfillment having reached the milestone of achieving, “The American Dream.”
I want every agent up in arms about this article. I am in the process of writing my response right now. Including quoting TIME magazine from 1955, in which they state “Home prices can not go up any higher than they currently are”….
I consider what they did irresponsible journalism….
Soooo did you enjoy my post hahaha
Great post. I took a slightly more aggressive approach on ActiveRain but you pulled every negative they cited in the article and put the correct spin on it. Of course since you apparently value security, happiness, education, civic participation and wealth creation, you are obviously one of those wealthy elitists and your opinion doesn’t count – but your post is spot on.
Thank you Gene, we are just everyday people with a view 🙂
Jaren, I just read Gene’s blog on ActiveRain, which linked over to your blog. I read yours also. They were like fire and water. His angered me (not because of his writing, but because of the way that things are being portrayed by our Government), while yours made me relax a bit. Question… Is there any way that you’d let me print out your article to give to potential clients? Of course, I’d have your name and blog address on every piece. I think your post make a lot of sense, and if everyone would read it, we wouldn’t have to worry about those articles in Time magazine or anywhere else. Thanks, I look forward to hearing back from you.
Eric I am humbled and honored you would ask! You are welcome to use this post and any others on my blog. Watch for my book, “The Bracelet” as this too you may enjoy.
Great post. I used to think that the relationship between homeownership and a better life was one of correlation rather than causality, but I see as my own neighborhood has changed from mostly renters to owners the dramatic uptick in community involvement and concern.
Dave, you are right on! Thank you for validating for us what studies have proven. We are fortunate as American’s that there are many advocating for our rights. Our freedoms are preserved through our ability to enjoy our little piece of land 🙂
The points you make are dead on! I don’t see you as a wealthy elitist at all….but, a person who accurately sees the relationship between home ownership and success in all other areas of life. Homeownership is what the American Dream has always been built on. It signifies independance and the abiltiy to achieve and provide for one’s own needs. Unfortunately there are those people (many of them media driven) who would like for us to all be the same and would want to level the playing field. That is not the American Dream at all. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and insights on a topic that is so close to my heart and something I believe in whole-heartedly!!
Cheers Kristin, truly feel your passion!
Jaren, thanks for taking the time to write such a nice rebuttle to the TIME article. It is sad to see a journalist spin homeownership so badly. The first thought I had after reading that article is that jounalist is really mad at the world about something. Thanks again Jaren for reminding us of the American Dream is really about. A home is a place that ‘good dreams’ can happen for a whole family. God bless.
A bit tardy, but finnally got to your blog. Absoloutly hits it dead center. I assume I may use it as Eric Micheal is going to. If that’s a problem let me know. Again, a wonderful article that everyone should read. See you in NO.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention yesterday. It is a good article with good points. My view is a little higher in one respect that I see the larger view of private property. The use of private property for theproduction of agricultural products here in the US is in my view the primary reason we are the world leader in agricultural production. Yet we see continual efforts to take rights one at a time from the bundle of rights theory. Some are taken in the name of zoning and others are taken in regulatory processes. Each loss results in a diminution of both rights as well as productivity due to increased costs or decreased opportunities. I look forward to additional conversations with you in the future…
I appreciate your sentiment and so eloquently written… I too would love to share this writing with my community.
I did not get a chance to visit with you when you were in Wyoming for the Convention; but I do want you to know your presence was appreciated.
I believe this article is correct in some respects but I think your basic theory is backwards. It sounds as if you’re claiming home ownership is responsible for better educated children, increased concern for the community, better financial responsibility, increased volunteerism and community/church involvement, etc. I may ruffle some feathers with this, but I believe home ownership is the result of people that are financially responsible, concerned about the community, involved in volunteer work/community/church, etc.
Look back through history when ownership was low and you’ll see our most responsible, involved citizens (generally speaking) owning land. They didn’t become better citizens AFTER buying; they were good citizens and their behavior tends to pay off. Again, generally speaking, citizens who live from paycheck to paycheck with no concern for saving for the future tend to have the same attitude towards other aspects of life and fail to invest in the local community, their children, etc.
Our current housing crisis is – in my mind – primarily caused by our attempt to ease home ownership requirements in an attempt to stabilize more people and create a better society. But society forgot a very basic principle: he who is faithful with little will be faithful with much. If someone saves for a down-payment, they’re more likely to care about their home, their neighborhood, and the greater community. If we provide housing with 100% financing, no credit check, and no history of stability, they have no skin in the game and we shouldn’t be surprised when they treat it like just another apartment.
Good people make good home owners make good parents make good citizens. Let the market correct itself and tighten the requirements back up and you’ll see a reduction in the number of a home owners, but also a reduction in “problem” home owners.