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Homeownership and Social Benefits – Owing a Home makes you Happy!!!

I read an article few months back and never remembered until few days ago. In this post, I share few snippets from publication released by NAR and research from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Owning a home can make families healthier, happier, and more financially secure, according to new research by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. on the benefits of home ownership. Researchers worked with Habitat for Humanity families to evaluate how their lives changed after moving into their homes. Eighty-nine percent of the Canadian families surveyed said their lives improved since they moved into their homes. Eighty-six percent said they’re happier since owning a home.

The survey also found home ownership led to an improvement in children’s school performance. The families reported that the children had increased confidence, improved behavior, higher grades, and enjoyed school more after becoming home owners. The study’s release coincided with the National Association of REALTORS(R) recent release of a new publication, “Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.”

“There is evidence from numerous studies that attest to the benefits [of home ownership] accruing to many segments of society,” according to Canadian researchers. “Home ownership boosts the educational performance of children, induces higher participation in civic and volunteering activity, improves health care outcomes, lowers crime rates and lessens welfare dependency.”

Few important sections in the publication from NAR talks about Homeownership and Education Achievement and Homeownership and Parenting interests me a lot. Here is some important snapshot from that publication.

Homeownership and Education Achievement
Consistent findings show that homeownership does make a significant positive impact on educational achievement. Less clear, however, is whether homeownership in itself, stable housing (i.e., less frequent residential change), or favorable neighborhood characteristics are the main underlying factors contributing to better educational outcomes.

Researchers found that homeowners have a significant effect on their children’s success.The decision to stay in school by teenage students is higher for those raised by home-owning parents compared to those in renter households. Furthermore, daughters of homeowners have a much lower incidence of teenage pregnancy. The authors point to certain behavioral characteristics required of homeowners that get passed onto their children.

In another study by Harkness and Newman, the authors examined whether children from lower income and higher-income families benefit equally from homeownership and found that for children growing up in families with incomes less than 150 percent of the federal poverty line, homeownership raises educational attainment, earnings, and welfare independence in young adulthood. These positive results do not extend to the long-term outcomes of children in families with incomes more than 150 percent of the poverty line, however. These findings suggest that homeownership effects are not only attributable to unobserved characteristics of homeowners, but also indicate causal effects.

Homeownership and Parenting
Though the homeownership effect on success of children has been debated in academic literature, a recent study approached this question from a different perspective. Instead of trying to account for unobserved characteristics of homeowners, they examined whether there is a relationship between home ownership and engaged parenting behaviors in the home, school, and wider community for low to moderate income households. Researchers focused on four variables: parental school involvement, frequency of reading to child, child’s participation in organized activities, and child’s screen time (television viewing and playing videogames).

Altogether, these measures reveal parenting behaviors broadly believed to be associated with positive child outcomes. The authors propose that homeownership provides for engaged parenting practices in two ways: economic and psycho-social. The economic impact of home ownership refers to the positive impact of nurturing neighborhoods.

So it is not just about good financial decision when it comes to owning a home, it has other good side
effects as well. If you are renting, it is the time to buy. You might think you missed the boat but it is closer to the shore and you can hope on it before it’s gone too far.

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