by Steve Harney on August 16, 2010
I believe very strongly in the importance of homeownership in this country. A home is much more than just a financial investment. It is a parents’ investment in their children. It is a family’s investment in their community. It is the people’s investment in America.
I have written extensively on the fact that real estate is still one of the best long term investments available. There is plenty of evidence that people believe owning a home is more advantageous than renting. There is no doubt that homeowners are more committed to the community. Homeownership is an integral part of the fabric of this country.
Yet, there are still those that argue against these points. My fear is that people in power are listening to these naysayers; people in position to make decisions that will impact the ability of families to purchase a home. The percentage of homeownership has already fallen to the levels of 1999. And now it seems that some in government are questioning the actual concept of homeownership.
USA Today in an article last week entitled Feds rethink policies that encourage home ownership reported:
Just how much should Uncle Sam do to help Americans buy their own homes? For 70 years — and for the last 15 in particular — the answer has been: Whatever it takes. Now, policymakers are pausing to reconsider. In the next few months, they’ll weigh whether there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to helping families finance the American Dream … Washington is preparing to rebuild the national mortgage market atop the ruins of Fannie and Freddie. The proposal, due early next year from the Obama administration, could make it harder to buy a home by reducing available credit or requiring bigger down pay-ments. Low-income renters might get more government help.
The National Association of Realtors has just put out an excellent research paper, Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing. In the report, which has over 40 citations to academic studies and reports, they do an excellent job of spelling out the social benefits of homeownership. Let’s make sure we hear both sides of the argument before we start changing our beliefs in what makes us the great nation we are.
The KCM Crew and I had the privilege to hear Colin Powell speak at a leadership conference last year. He explained to everyone in the room that, before we lose faith in what we are as a nation, we must remember:
“Every morning in every other country, there is a long line of people outside of every one of our embassies looking to come to America.”
That is because this country has always encouraged its people to dream. Homeownership is one of the grandest dreams of many Americans. Let’s not make this dream any harder to attain.