American homeownership is soaring, which is good for all of us.
Home sales slowed during the early months of COVID-19, as millions of Americans stayed inside. In the past few months, however, with interest rates at historic lows, homes have been selling at a record pace, USA Today reports.
As Americans flee dense urban areas, they’re looking for room to spread out – what we call “distancing” these days – and big yards for their kids to play in.
I can’t wait for millions of erstwhile renters to become homeowners just like me.
The Journal of the Center for Real Estate Studies reports homeowners enjoy long-term social and financial benefits. Their children do better in school. Homeowners are more likely to participate in community and civic activities and vote than are renters. They experience health benefits and, for most, a sense of well-being.
“More recent studies have found that the wealth building effect of homeownership and the sense of control it provides to homeowners in a stable housing market affect homeowners’ mental and physical health in a positive way,” according to The Journal’s 2017 study.
But, in my opinion, the greatest benefit of owning a home is that it forces you to embrace common sense.
Common sense, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.” Regrettably, common sense isn’t so common anymore, but home ownership is a fantastic way for people to master it.
No sooner do you make your first mortgage payment than you begin wondering if the popularity of socialist policies you were taught in school might make your future payments harder.
Higher income taxes would leave you less money for future payments. The economy, if hobbled by restrictive policies – Google “Venezuela” – would produce fewer jobs, affording you less opportunity for a better job to continue paying your mortgage and improving your home.
You’re certainly going to need a “rainy day fund” when you own a home. In fact, your home knows when you create one – and exactly how much you have in it.
You see, every home has a sadistic sense of humor and will do something – say, explode its terra cotta sewage line on Thanksgiving morning – that causes you to create new curse words but, most of all, forces you to become ever more sensible.
You’ll become suspicious of smooth-talking politicians who promise all kinds of freebies without explaining how they’ll pay for them. You’ll realize that you, a hard-working, homeowning taxpayer, will foot the bill. You’ll realize you’re being bamboozled.
That will make you irritable and your irritability will make you pay closer attention and demand answers. If every voter had the sensibility you now have, imagine how much better our representatives – our whole government – would be.
Imagine how much better the country would be if every American had “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.”
Be cautious buying your first home, however. Low rates and high demand have prices rising fast. Be sure you’re making a sound decision, as MarketWatch covers.
The best way to do that? Ask a homeowner for advice.
Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood,” a humorous memoir, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc.