It may be a down market, but the majority of Americans still see value in homeownership.
According to a recent survey, conducted on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), "An overwhelming 75 percent of the people who were polled said that owning a home is worth the risk of the fluctuations in the market, and 95 percent of the home owners said they are happy with their decision to own a home."
There is good reason for homeowners to feel this way. Homeownership offers people a wide range of benefits, including many that reside outside your pocketbook. The first benefit is stability. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and their 2010 study named "Social Benefits of Stable Housing," "Homeownership and stable housing go hand-in-hand. Homeowners move far less frequently than renters, and hence are embedded into the same neighborhood and community for a longer period. "
This stability has far-reaching affects. Studies have revealed that children of homeowners are more likely to graduate and less likely to live in areas with high crime rates. Responsibility is also passed down to the next generation. Daughters of homeowners have a lower incidence of teen pregnancy.
According to the survey, "First, a home purchase naturally involves one of the largest financial commitments most households will undertake. Homeowners, therefore, tend to minimize bad behavior by their children and those of their neighbors that can negatively impact the value of homes in their neighborhood. Second, homeowners are required to take on a greater responsibility such as home maintenance and acquiring the financial skills to handle mortgage payments. These life management skills may get transferred to their children."
Homeownership even affects our health. This same NAR study found that homeowners report higher levels of physical health, even after the study adjusted for age and socioeconomic factors. "In addition to being more satisfied with their own personal situation than renters," says the study, "homeowners also enjoy better physical and psychological health."
Owning your home gives you stability. Eventually, if a homeowner buys within their means, even the longest of mortgages gets paid off. This makes your home one of your greatest retirement assets.
According to Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. "People believe overwhelmingly that owning a home is an anchor to the American Dream," she said. "It's an anchor to your retirement, and it's an anchor to your personal economic well-being."
"Homeownership is worth the risk, pure and simple," said Neil Newhouse, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. "Even though the market is weak, people who don't own say they want to buy a house. Almost three-quarters of those who do not currently own a home, 73 percent, said owning a home is one of their goals. And among younger voters who are most likely to be in the market for a home in the next few years, the percentages are even higher."
This is why 80 percent of owners would recommend homeownership to those they know. If you're in the market, maybe it's time you took listened to their advice! Historically low interest rates and high rates of affordability make now a great time to buy.