The press has been swirling with negative homeownership stories over the last few months. Vicki L. Cox Golder, 2010 NAR President, addressed these stories so well in the latest issue of REALTOR Magazine that we would like to share her thoughts here:
It's natural that we're seeing such articles during these uncertain economic times, and it would be simplistic to dismiss these writers as out of hand. If you read beyond their opening salvos, you find comments that can't be argued with -- too many Americans got in over their heads, buying a home they could not afford or using their home equity to fund a lifestyle they couldn't sustain. Others fell victim to predatory lending practices or recessionary job cuts.
Where I part ways with these writers is their implicit or explicit diminishment of the value of homeownership. Homeownership has long been a fundamental part of the American dream, and it will continue to be so long after today's economic troubles are behind us. In fact, the desire for a home is the dream of people everywhere. To have a home of one's own is to have a place of safety and security for ourselves and our children, a place to celebrate traditions and to welcome friends.
I'm deeply concerned about the way these articles -- again, implicitly or explicitly -- chip away at our nation's longstanding policy of encouraging home buying through incentives such as the mortgage interest deduction. Research has consistently shown the long-term benefits of homeownership to our communities and the country. The National Association of Realtors recently released a review of academic studies pertaining to homeownership. Those studies show, among other things, a positive correlation with self-esteem, educational achievement, civic participation and crime prevention.
We need to join together in creating a vision for a new American dream -- one that emphasizes responsible, long-term homeownership as means of achieving social and financial well-being.