The benefits of home ownership
The Kansas City Star
Since our nation’s first days as a newly fledged republic, homeownership has been a cherished ideal. Reasons as diverse as our population have impelled generations of Americans to work hard and make the sacrifices necessary to own a home.
That’s because the benefits of homeownership are many.
Perhaps most important is that owning a home provides an unparalleled sense of well-being, security and achievement.
Moreover, homeownership has always been — and continues to be — the single best long-term investment for most Americans.
It is a primary source of wealth and financial security for many households, helping to provide for education, retirement and more.
Even in the wake of the Great Recession, with its severe housing market crisis, Americans continue to value homeownership.
Almost all (96 percent) of the people polled in a survey conducted earlier this year for the National Association of Home Builders by two nationally known polling firms said they are happy with their decision to own a home.
That sentiment held true even among people whose homes are “under water.”
Eighty-four percent of those who owe more on their mortgage than their home’s current value said they are happy with their decision to own a home.
The nationwide survey of 1,500 people who are likely to vote in the 2012 elections also found that a significant majority — 76 percent — think owning a home is the best long-term investment they can make and is worth the ups and downs of the housing market. Among people who don’t currently own a home, 68 percent hope to own a home in the future, the poll found.
Just as homeownership provides many benefits to individual families, it also benefits the nation.
Whenever new homes are built, new jobs are created and a permanent source of ongoing revenue for local, state and federal government springs to life that supports local schools and communities across the land.
Just consider: Building 100 average single-family homes creates 305 jobs and generates more than $23 million in wage and business income as well as $8.9 million in taxes and revenue for state, local and federal governments.
The employment effects are broad based, extending far beyond the construction workers employed directly to build the homes.
Jobs are generated in the industries that manufacture and supply the many products that go into building the home. They are also created when real estate agents, lawyers and brokers provide services to home builders and home buyers.
The NAHB poll also showed that 75 percent of all respondents — both owners and renters — believe the federal government should provide tax incentives to promote homeownership.
And across the political spectrum, more than two-thirds — 68 percent — said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports eliminating the mortgage interest deduction.
As the debate over housing policy unfolds, it is crucial to ensure that homeownership remains affordable and attainable.
Concerned citizens who believe that homeownership should be an important national priority are encouraged to go to www.ProtectHomeownership.com/KansasCity and register to attend a Rally for Homeownership that will take place Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, located at 500 West U.S. 24 in Independence.
Tom Woods is 3rd vice president of the National Association of Home Builders. He lives in Independence.