I believe that there are many reasons for home-ownership. Historically speaking, the fore-fathers of the United States of America thought land ownership so important to making a responsible citizen they only allowed landowners to right to vote. I don’t think any of us would agree with metering the ability to vote in this way today, but the root idea that ownership in real-estate creates a fundamental difference in the people of any community is a valid concept.
Owners of real-estate tend to be more involved in the community and help create a solid sense of permanence and continuity in their neighborhoods. Homeowners tend to keep their properties in better condition not only from a sense of pride and ownership, but also because they know that letting their property deteriorate negatively affects the value of their investment. Owners also typically improve their homes with both large and small projects stimulating the local economy.
New home building stimulates the economy in an even bigger way. It is also indicative of a vibrant, growing, community. The saying “You are either growing or dying” is very true, I can’t think of any town that does not want, or is successful, without some measure of growth and change. Nationally creation of new households is on the rise and more and more people are becoming homeowners.
We have recently been reminded that the value of property and homes can go down as well as up. But real-estate, unlike stocks or other investments, is unlikely to vanish into thin air. I recall in 2008 buying some stock in GM, thinking it a good time to buy and a company like GM a solid investment. Unfortunately I found that any company can go bankrupt and my stocks essentially vanished. With real-estate even if the value goes down, it will not vanish. And in most cases any value reversal will correct itself if you are patient and wait for the market to turn as it currently has.
So if you are not a homeowner yet, I’d encourage you to consider a long term and solid investment in real-estate!