Thanksgiving: More Reasons to be Grateful for Homeownership

Thanksgiving benefits of homeownershipThanksgiving is tomorrow, and in honor of that day, we offer some new, and perhaps surprising, reasons to be thankful for homeownership.

Our Children Thank Us

Research shows: If parents want their kids to do better in school, one of the most important things they can do is buy a home. A 2012 study by Richard K. Green and Gary D. Painter of the University of Southern California and Michelle J. White of the University of San Diego found that children of homeowners are 2.6% less likely to drop out of school than children from renting families. These findings were confirmed both before and after the foreclosure crisis in this country, an important detail given that foreclosure uprooted and threw into chaos the lives of many people, kids included, and could have skewed the results.

The study also found the incidence of teenage pregnancy 5% lower among home owning families.

These findings echo those of a separate study done over a decade ago: In 2000, researchers found children of homeowners testing 9% higher in math and 7% higher in reading than children of renters (Haurin, Parcel, Haurin, 2000).

The point here isn’t to say that parents who rent are somehow inferior than those who own, but rather to reflect on the stability ownership provides, which may have positive impact children. Additionally, the rigorous demands of saving for a down payment, then buying a home and paying a mortgage, and then keeping up a home can set a good example for young students. They may be better prepared for the time management, focus, and dedication needed to do well in school.

Long Term Residency Creates Roots

Interestingly, if parents stay in one place longer, their children have lower drop out and pregnancy rates.  This statistic applies to both renters and owners, a comfort to any parents who right now simply can’t buy.

Roots Create Community

Kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy the benefits of home ownership. The Habitat for Humanity lists among the advantages community involvement. Homeowners are more likely to be “active in local organizations” that better an area. Because of their very real investment in a neighborhood, they are more likely to spend money on and/or vote on bonds that support social infrastructure.

Economic Stimulus

Another reason to be thankful for homeownership: it’s good for the economy. Real estate accounts for a very real percentage of the nation’s GDP, and though that number has been almost halved in these past strained years, the industry as a whole plays a huge role in the health of the nation’s bottom line.

Homeownership, points out Habitat for Humanity, contributes to increased property values. When people buy in a distressed area, live there and contribute to its recovery, they raise the value of not only their own homes, but those of their neighbors. The government is well aware of this phenomenon, which is why it supports HUD programs like Good Neighbor program we detailed for you in a recent blog.

Home equity is also the most common collateral used for bank loans to start new businesses—a strong link then between homeownership and the recovery/continued success of American small business.

Thanksgiving reason to be a homeowner

Personal Reasons

Personally, I’m thankful for my first Thanksgiving in my own home. No landlord can tell me I can’t paint a giant pumpkin pie on the door if I want to, or paint my whole dining room the deep red of fall leaves (like in the picture!). Not that I'll do either, of course, but knowing I can creates a sense of freedom—and pride. I feel like my husband and I really have something to show for all our years of hard work, and this is the first home where I’ve ever had enough room to actually show it properly. We actually have our first dining room!

Homeownership offers many reasons for gratefulness. These are just a few. Share yours in the comments below, and in the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert