Personal and Social Stability Increase with Homeownership: Report

By Adam Miller
Adam Miller
Adam Miller
August 18, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

A National Association of Realtors&#174 (NAR) report shows homeowners are happier and healthier than non-owners. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A National Association of Realtors&#174 (NAR) report shows homeowners are happier and healthier than non-owners. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Homeowners are happier and healthier than non-owners, says a recent report by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Homeowners are also more satisfied with their personal situation when compared to renters; and studies have even discovered that daughters of homeowners have a lower rate of teenage pregnancy.

The report relates “stable housing” to the fact that homeowners move less frequently than renters, creating in them a sense of responsibility and care for their home and community. Homeowners tend to have more social ties than renters, as they have time to create lasting relationships, and are more involved in local politics and community happenings.

The NAR report, Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing, quotes academic literature which supports a correlation between homeownership and various social gains, including health benefits, crime, educational achievement, and civic participation. One study states that homeowners enjoy “better physical and psychological health.”

The key reason for the higher ‘mover rate’ among renters is the fact that renters are younger, the report states. “That is, changing and searching for ideal jobs, not yet married, and hence, literally, less committed.”

This implies that other factors—age, economic well-being and marriage status—influence one’s stability.

Thom Allen, a 28-year-old homeowner in Lawrence, Kansas, said he has mixed feelings about owning a home. “I am realizing the challenges of not having a second income if I were married and had someone else to help out,” he said. “But I own a historic home built of limestone, and the beauty of homeownership is that I can connect with the community through historical preservation. In this way, I do feel more connected.”

While it is debatable whether it is homeownership itself or a general feeling of “residential stability” associated with owning a home that leads to children’s improved schooling performance, studies have shown higher educational achievements among the children of homeowners. It is believed that certain behavioral qualities and life management skills associated with owning a home and managing a mortgage are passed down from parents to children.

Owning a home can protect one from criminal activity. The report says this may have to do with homeowners acting as deterrents to crime, as crime in neighborhoods can adversely affect property values; hence, homeowners have extra incentive to implement crime prevention programs and neighborhood watches.

The report lists “residential mobility” as a key cause of social disorganization, which leads to “a high level of deviance in social norms and lack of community to realize common values.” This may be why homeowners are less likely to become victims of crime than are renters with a rate of higher mobility.

The authors of the report conclude in saying, “public policy makers would be wise to consider the immense social benefits of homeownership for families, local communities and the nation.”

“I think homeownership can help keep a neighborhood like mine in good shape,” Allen said. “It would be sad to sell my house and come back in 10 or 20 years to see that it was a rental and that college kids had painted the limestone the school colors, red and blue. I’ve seen it happen.”

Adam Miller