If you stop and think about it, the American Dream is largely a dream about homeownership.
The history of the United States — from the crossing of the Atlantic to westward expansion — was all about staking a claim and finding a place to call “home.” This dream was powerfully captured by the so-called G.I. Bill, which allowed veterans of WWII to secure favorable loans in order to purchase homes for themselves and their families.
In “The Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing” posted in Economic Updates, research economist Nadia Evangelou highlights four areas in which owning a home provides both social and economic advantages for Americans.
Studies consistently reveal that educational achievement is positively impacted by homeownership in significant ways.
The stability created by homeownership helps provide students the secure environment needed to excel academically, and moreover, researchers have found that homeowning households are more likely to safe money for educational purposes (and children from these households are less likely to drop out of school).
In a word, people who own their homes are more likely to be involved in their neighborhoods and communities than those who rent.
Studies have shown that the residential stability created by homeownership makes the likelihood of electoral participation significantly higher. The same is true not just for voting, but for civic groups and neighborhood activities as well.
Building upon what was said above, crime is less frequent in stable communities where people know their neighbors and are involved in various civic activities (as opposed to more transitory environments often characteristic of renters).
In short, homeowners not only feel a sense of connection and duty to their neighbors, but they will also be more likely to recognize potential perpetrators of crime in their midst.
Research also demonstrates that homeowners and their children tend to be happier and healthier than non-owners.
This is due to the fact that owning a home, unlike renting, leads to wealth accumulation which in turn produces a sense of stability and control that positively impacts homeowners’ sense of mental and physical well being.
The full article can be found in the Journal of the Center for Real Estate Studies.