February 9th, 2011 6:21 PM by AllenBrothers Realtors
2/9/2011 Recap of NAR article:
Although many strange and varied answers are given to the question of what The American Dream is these days, home ownership still remains a powerful incentive for a great many people. This includes a secure family and home in the broadest sense. The home is where a person's identity, values and traditions are established, but does it matter if the home is actually owned? Some critics in the wake of the financial crisis say it doesn't. This conversation is appropriate in the wake of the past decade's extremes, say some experts. It's important to remember that home ownership is still very important. Barbara Kiviat: Americans have made buying a house into a "fetish" responsible for a litany of ills ranging from lingering economic stagnation to suburban sprawl. NAR leaders say the values upon which this country was built are at stake. The people of the US have believed for 234 years that property ownership was a core value of this country. This is still the dominant media message (2:1) as found in media studies. Home ownership has a positive effect on people's family lives, finances, and feelings of connectedness to their community. An overwhelming majority of Americans polled feel that owning a home is a smart investment and step toward financial security. To back this: in 2007, median net worth of homeowner families: $234,200. Of renting families: $5,100. A similar disparity existed before the housing market heated up a decade ago. Homeownership is perhaps the surest way to accumulate net worth for middle class families that there is. Mortgage payments contain the equivalent of savings deposits. Children of homeowners also scored higher on math and reading achievement tests in a Harvard study. Homeowners feel more committed to their communities, and know their neighbors better. Despite this, in 2010 a bipartisan commission proposed to cut the mortgage interest deduction for the first time ever, changing the deduction to a 12 percent nonrefundable tax credit, capping the amount at $500,000, and eliminating second mortgages and home equity. It didn't pass, but it almost did. The proponents claimed home owners did not deserve any exclusive tax incentives, and that renters shouldn't be unfairly forced to subsidize those who owned homes. The irony is that the large majority of renters still support the MID, and the reason is clearly because they still believe in the American Dream, which is encapsulated by homeownership. Americans are cynical about the economy, but they aren't cynical about the American Dream. Check out the Home Ownership Matters page on REALTOR.org. Breaking news, key research, online tools, and resources for associations and activists can be found there. The fight to preserve and protect home ownership is just getting under way.
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