There has been a lot of tough news coming out this week about the real estate market and overall economy in general. Everywhere you look you see dismal statistics and talk about things like depreciation, record housing inventory levels, foreclosures, shadow inventory, and many experts questioning if buying a house is still a good investment.
Unfortunately, the recent real estate boom (and resulting bust) has skewed our perception about what owning a home really means. Sure – we would all love it if we could continue to experience huge appreciation and growing equity just by paying our mortgage each month. But what about the less tangible benefits of homeownership?
An August 2010 report by the National Association of Realtors discussed the Social Benefits of Housing. Some of the findings include statistics that show that family units in houses with homeowners (versus houses with renters) experience:
– A higher rate of teens staying in school
– A lower rate of teen pregnancy
– Higher educational achievement (and higher earnings as a result)
– Higher civic participation in the local community
Of course there is an even more personal side to our homes. In our homes we build our lives with our partners, raise our children, play with our pets. We celebrate holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and all those major life milestones. We cook, garden, entertain, decorate, and relax. Our homes are our sanctuary – the place we can go to feel safety, security, and unconditional love. We make memories in those little moments of our everyday lives: in the meals and laundry and homework.
So maybe you aren’t going to experience double-digit appreciation on your home in the future. Maybe you won’t be able to refinance and take out a new loan that is 105% of the value to buy a shiny new car or take a a European vacation. But that doesn’t mean that we should all give up on homeownership. Let’s not forget all the other benefits that we experience as homeowners every single day.