Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing

Bill Gray September 18, 2019

This month on the Welcome Home blog, we’re focusing loosely on homework in honor of school starting up again. This week, housing stability’s impact on kids’ grades and family health.

As alluded to in our post on Social Return on Investment this past July, owning a home yields both measurable financial benefits as well as benefits that are more intangible. A 2016 study by the National Association of Realtors® set out to identify some of the more impactful intangibles, and came up with the following list:

  • Homeownership brings stability to neighborhoods. Among people of the same age, same income and same marital status, a person is significantly more likely to change residence in a given year if he or she was a renter rather than a homeowner.
  • Homeownership has a significant positive impact on educational achievement. Interestingly, the main reason for this difference is likely due in large part to greater neighborhood stability. Ownership behavior by parents such as being responsible for maintenance and caring for the home as their own also plays a role modeling role. And research has confirmed that access to economic and educational opportunities are more prevalent in neighborhoods with high rates of homeownership and community involvement.
  • Homeownership promotes civic engagement. Owning one’s own home promotes a sense of attachment to not only the home, but to the neighborhood and community as well. Homeowners are more likely to participate in local elections, civic groups and neighborhood organizations than are renters.
  • Homeownership yields better physical and psychological health. While research shows homeowners are 2.5 percent more likely to have good health, the relationship between homeownership and health benefits has large racial and ethnic disparities.
  • Homeownership reduces crime. In addition to a greater communal sense of ownership and looking out for one another, the study found that foreclosures lead to an increase in crimes on a given street of between 1.4 and 2.6 percent.

While specific monetary value can’t be assigned to each of these intangible benefits of homeownership, there’s no doubt that investing in homeownership education and advising yields tangible improvements in the fabric of a community.

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