According to a recent study by The National Association of REALTORS the majority of renters and homeowners alike agree that owning a home strengthens the American economy and benefits families as well as their communities.
Looking at the recently released statistics it is clear that most Americans can agree on one thing: owning a home is a great investment over the long term. This is despite a challenging job market and numerous other economic factors that have impacted the housing market over the past several years.
The biggest piece of news in this study is the sense of community that homeowners have reported. When asked "How well do you know your neighbors?" by NAR, 6% of homeowners responded with "extremely well." Only 2% of renters responded the same. 19% of homeowners responded with "very well."
The most surprising result falls within the "not at all well" field, where 35% of renters claim that they have little, if any connection with their neighbors. While these results are somewhat anecdotal, it's clear that many homeowners feel a stronger connection to their neighbors and by extension, their community as a whole.
Homeowners demonstrate their strong connections to their communities in other ways, too. Not just on a local scale, but a national scale as well. When polled, 86% of homeowners responded that they always or often vote in national elections. 78% responded that they often or always vote in local elections.
Despite the recent economic difficulties, most respondents report "not at all worried" when asked if they will be able to make their rent or mortgage payments throughout the coming year. This demonstrates that Americans (both renters and homeowners) in general have an optimistic outlook for the future. Although homeowners are 6% more confident in being able to make their mortgage payments. This is a small difference, but it is one worth noting.
What does this say about the market? Americans agree that owning a home is a smart decision for their financial future, whether or not they owned a home when polled. In today's market, many aspiring home owners face worries about job security and being able to qualify for a home loan. While these are indeed large obstacles, most seem to face the challenge with overall optimism. Few homeowners are worried about making their mortgage payments.
Furthermore, while there are always exceptions to the rule renters who upgrade to their own homes tend to develop a stronger sense of pride in their communities and tend to foster larger economic growth than their counterparts. This not only benefits the individual, but the area as a whole.