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Homeowners happier than renters

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Homeowners are more active in their communities, benefit from improved education opportunities and report higher levels of self-esteem and happiness when compared to renters, according to the new report Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.

The study, from the National Association of Realtors, examines leading research from government, industry and academia to explore the impact of stable housing and the positive social outcomes resulting from homeownership. It finds that homeowners move far less frequently than renters, and therefore are embedded into the same neighborhood and community for longer. This allows for social cohesion, ultimately resulting in social benefits and stronger communities.

Several research studies cited in the NAR report have found that homeownership has a significant impact on educational achievement. For instance, the decision by teenage students to stay in school is higher for those raised by parents who are homeowners compared to those whose parents are renters. Access to economic and educational opportunities are also more prevalent in neighborhoods with high rates of homeownership. Furthermore, studies have shown that changing schools frequently due to moving impacts negatively a child’s educational outcome.

Civic participation is another social benefit resulting from homeownership and stable housing. Homeowners are proven to be more politically active and are more likely to vote in local elections compared to renters. In addition, homeowners have a higher membership in voluntary organizations.

Studies have shown that homeowners are more likely to believe that they can do things as well as anyone else, and they self-report higher ratings on their physical health.

When it comes to property, homeowners have more invested both financially and emotionally. Property crimes affect homeowners directly, but nonviolent property crimes can impact the property values of the entire neighborhood. Therefore, homeowners are more motivated to deter crime by forming and implementing voluntary crime prevention programs. In addition, it is easier for homeowners to recognize perpetrators in stable neighborhoods because of extensive social ties. Unstable neighborhoods often display social disorganization, which can lead to higher levels of crime.

Along with protecting their home and neighborhood from crime, homeowners spend more time and money maintaining their home than renters. Neighbors also influence other homeowners to improve their property, resulting in a better overall quality of the community.

“Homeownership certainly contributes to positive social outcomes, but those outcomes are truly a result of stable housing communities,” says Orlando Regional Realtor Association Chairwoman of the Board Kathleen Gallagher McIver, of RE/MAX Town & Country Realty. “With strong social ties and a cohesive community, homeowners can enjoy not only the long-term financial benefit of owning a home, but also a more satisfying life — which is what’s really at the heart of the American Dream.”

—Courtesy of Orlando Regional Realtor Association